American Hospital Salaries Attract International Physicians

High physician salaries in the United States are one of the factors that are contributing to an uptick in international physician migration, according to a report in The New York Times Magazine.

Although many international physicians have the desire to return to their countries and provide care for their vulnerable populations, the salaries are making it harder to return. For example, Kunj Desai, a surgeon in training, moved from Lusaka, Zambia to New Jersey. The average salary of an employed surgeon in New Jersey is roughly $216,000, and the average salary of a hospital surgeon in Lusaka is around $24,000 per year, according to the report.

Currently, one in four physicians working in the United States is trained in a foreign medical school, and most physicians are choosing to become specialists instead of general family physicians. Regardless, Laurie Garrett, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, says physician shortages are popping up globally. "For the foreseeable future, every health provider, from Harvard University's facilities all the way down to a rural clinic in the Ethiopian desert, is competing for medical talent, and the winners are those with money," she said in the report.

The American Hospital Association recently supported a bill in Congress that would make the J-1 visa waiver program permanent. The program allows state health departments to request J-1 visa waivers for up to 30 foreign physicians per year to work in areas where physicians are in short supply.

More Articles on Physician Compensation:

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