Opinion: Barring international medical graduates only serves to US healthcare's detriment

Written by Megan Wood | March 07, 2017 | Print  |

An Annals of Internal Medicine-published commentary argued restricting international medical graduates from entering the United States will negatively impact the healthcare field, according to Medscape.

Timeline of President Donald Trump's executive order
On Jan. 27, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order on immigration. Under the order, Syrian refugees are not allowed to enter the United States; all refugees are barred from entering the United States for 120 days; and citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are not allowed to enter the United States for 90 days, as reported by The New York Times.

On Jan. 28, 2017, District Court Judge Ann M. Donnelly "put a stay on deporting people who had landed in the U.S. and were covered by the executive order," according to ProPublica.

 

On Feb. 9, 2017, the U.S. District Circuit Court of Appeals' denied the "Trump administration's challenge to suspension of the travel ban," according to Medscape.

 

Impact of barring entry to international medical graduates
American Medical Association President Andrew Gurman, MD, told Medscape, that 27 percent of U.S. physicians and 31 percent of U.S. primary care physicians are international medical graduates.

 

With the Feb. 22, 2017, deadline for the National Resident Matching Program, the executive order certainly caused uncertainty among residency directors.

 

In 2016, about one-quarter of U.S. physicians graduated from international medical schools. More than 10,000 of those physicians graduated from the seven countries in the executive order.

 

William W. Pinsky, MD, president and CEO of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, noted the already rigorous three-year vetting process international medical graduates undergo. Dr. Pinsky cautions the executive order harms the future of U.S. healthcare, because as the nation becomes more diverse, it needs a more diverse physician workforce.

 

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates sponsored international medical graduates from 154 countries in 2016 for J-1 visas, which are two-year exchange visitor programs. If international medical graduates treat patients in underserved areas, the U.S. may allow the physicians to stay in the country. As fewer U.S.-trained physicians are enticed to work in underserved communities, losing the international medical graduates may cause a blow to the industry.

 

More articles on practice management:
Repeal & replace in session — GOP set to reveal awaited healthcare plan this week
Physician salaries: Which states' physicians earn the most & more: 5 key takeaways
What happened when a Syrian, Muslim physician wrote a letter to his patients about immigration

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