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AAMC Comments Highlight Impact of Medicare GME Cap on Physician Immigration and U.S. Workforce Shortages

January 30, 2015

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PRESS CONTACTS
Matthew Shick, Sr. Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs

AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D., Jan. 29 submitted comments  on physician immigration in response to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) request for information published in the Dec. 30 Federal Register. The AAMC letter outlines U.S. physician workforce shortages, U.S. medical school enrollment trends, and the importance of international medical graduates (IMGs).

The letter emphasizes, “While many improvements can be made to streamline the physician immigration process … the AAMC believes the primary barrier for [IMGs] to practicing in the U.S. is the cap on Medicare support for GME imposed by the Balance Budget Act of 1997.”

Dr. Grover notes that “some observers have suggested that training programs could accommodate the increasing number of U.S. medical school graduates by preferentially or exclusively accepting M.D. and D.O. graduates of U.S. medical schools.” He continues, “Under such a plan, the total output of physicians would remain the same.”

The letter also highlights the Conrad State 30 J-1 visa waiver programs’ successful recruitment of immigrating primary care and specialty physicians to underserved communities.

Dr. Grover concludes with AAMC’s workforce recommendations, including the endorsement of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (S. 577 and H.R. 1180) and the Training Tomorrow’s Doctors Today Act (H.R. 1201) in the 113th Congress.

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