AMA seeks open visa processing for international physicians amid pandemic

The American Medical Association is calling on the U.S. State Department to expand the physician workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic by opening visa processing for international physicians.

In a letter sent March 24 to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, the association urged the federal government to open visa processing at embassies and consulates globally for physicians seeking to enter the U.S. to join residency programs on July 1. The AMA also called on officials to issue a public statement that non-U.S. citizen international physicians participating in U.S. graduate medical education programs or training be allowed to be redeployed to new rotations. 

The association said requests are to ensure that non-U.S. citizen international medical graduates aren't negatively affected by the pandemic and can continue or begin to play a key role in caring for patients during the public health crisis. 

"The AMA believes that any delay in the commencement of training programs will significantly compromise serving our nation's most vulnerable patients at hundreds of academic medical centers and safety-net facilities across the U.S.," the letter stated.

Read the full letter here


More articles on workforce issues:

Kaleida Health recruiting workers for COVID-19 response team
Documenting employee COVID-19 cases: 3 OSHA guidelines
How 3 New York hospitals are responding to staffing crisis

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