Physician Groups Worry H-1B Scrutiny to Impact Patient Care

A doctor greets a patient with a handshake and a smileNational physician groups are worried that increased scrutiny on H-1B visa applications will impact patient care at teaching hospitals throughout the United States, according to a letter sent to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Francis Cissna.

Prevailing Wage RFEs Due to Lack of Data

The letter expresses concern that non-U.S. international medical graduates (IMGs) will not be able to start positions at U.S. Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs due to the delay in H-1B processing. Specifically, the USCIS is issuing Request for Evidence or outright denials based on prevailing wage data for IMGs. The issue is compounded by the fact that the Department of Labor does not have data on medical residents, only on practicing physicians.

The physician groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Council of Academic Family Medicine, are asking Director Cissna to expedite review of pending H-1B application so IMGs can be ready to resume work as GME training programs begin July 1st.

An article in Forbes Magazine points to the fact that resident physicians are especially important in medically under-served areas, such as rural and urban areas, where they fill critical gaps in care delivery. According to the article, one medical resident might see 3,000 or more patients during their residency.

Common Sense Reform Needed

The shortage of primary care physicians has been in the news for years. In rural communities throughout the United States, the impact of physician shortages are already being felt, but few communities will be left untouched by the shortages as Baby Boomer doctors retire and as members of the Baby Boomer generation require additional medical care in their senior years.

Foreign doctors are essential to healthcare in the United States today and in the future, not just to ensure a continuum care for patients, but to harness the incredible talent coming out of American medical schools.  Director Cissna and the USCIS have the opportunity to make common sense changes to their H-1B review process in response to these latest concerns. These changes can scale to other industries which are negatively impacted by a shortage of highly skilled workers.

If you have questions about how H-1B processing impacts your business, or would like a complimentary consultation to talk about your specific needs, contact us today.

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