What our representatives are doing to address health care workforce shortages and help immigrant workers
On June 7th, Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) introduced legislation to help alleviate health care workforce shortages across the country and reduce employment barriers for immigrants who want to work in the health care field. Here is a brief summary of the three bills that were introduced:
- The Immigrants in Nursing and Allied Health Act would help immigrants, regardless of whether they have any previous health care experience, get the financial support they need to enter nursing and allied health careers including nursing, mental and behavioral health, and other health care professions.
- The IMG Assistance Act would help reduce the barriers that international medical graduates face when trying to complete the necessary training and certification to receive a U.S. medical license.
- The Professional’s Access to Health (PATH) Workforce Integration Act would offer training and counseling opportunities to internationally trained health professionals who are U.S. citizens, or immigrants legally residing in the U.S. while educating employers on the abilities and capacities of health professionals who have been educated overseas.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated national workforce challenges in health care. We must do everything we can to support health care workers, combat staffing shortages, and rebuild our health care system. One way we can do that is by reducing barriers to employment for immigrants looking to enter the health care field,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “Many immigrants, including those with international medical degrees, face significant costs and challenges to becoming health care professionals that deter them from entering the field. These bills will help reduce existing barriers and provide funding for training, licensing, certification, and case management services for immigrants in the U.S. to expand access to good-paying health care jobs and build a stronger health care workforce. Our country is in desperate need of more primary care physicians, nurses, behavioral health professionals, technicians, and other critical workers who care for our communities. There are many immigrants who are willing and able to fill these positions – these bills would take meaningful action to make these job opportunities a possibility for immigrants.”
“Healthcare provider shortages have created care deserts. This is unacceptable. At its current capacity, our nation’s infrastructure does not have the ability to supply a health professional workforce to fill the current and projected U.S. needs. At the same time, internationally educated health professionals already residing legally in the U.S., including physicians, nurses, dentists, mental health providers, pharmacists, social workers, and other health professionals, are currently working as childcare providers, home health aides, taxi drivers, laborers, and low-skilled jobs,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard. “I commend my colleague, Representative Smith, for his leadership in addressing this issue and I am proud to be working with him to introduce these three bills that will reduce barriers to entry into the workforce for internationally educated health professionals. My bill, the “Professionals Access to Health Workforce Integration Act,” or PATH Act would help to create a pipeline for lawfully present foreign trained health professionals to enter the American workforce with employment matching their health professional skills, education, and expertise. By facilitating the integration of these internationally trained health professionals into the U.S. health workforce, we will help increase our nation’s workforce diversity and contribute to improvements in the quality and availability of care for underserved populations.”
More information about the bills and a list of endorsements can be found here.
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