What we can do about growing doctor shortage in Midwest

From the Sun Times (Opinion):

Though immigration reform is a challenging issue to raise in an election year, it is clear that we cannot afford the status quo.

According to administrators at Presence Health, the largest Catholic healthcare system in Illinois with more than 150 locations, foreign-born doctors are vital for meeting patient demand, need and providing culturally competent care to a growingly diverse population. More than half the resident doctors at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston are foreign born, as are 71 of the 79 internal-medicine and preliminary-year residents at Chicago’s St. Joseph Hospital. And across the country, demand for high-skilled medical labor is far outpacing supply, especially in rural areas.

Yet U.S. immigration laws limit the number of individuals who are allowed to join the labor force each year and how many new foreign-born doctors each state can take. Further, by adding years of educational requirements and limits on the number of years they can practice before returning home, current policy harms our health care system by expediting doctor shortages.

 

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