Under the current immigration laws, many physicians, nurses and specialists are prohibited from working in the United States. However, with the Affordable Care Act and the aging U.S. population, there is an overwhelming demand for more medical advances, increased specialization and more practitioners, according to a report recently released by the National Foundation for American Policy.
The organization’s report made a few suggestions for a more efficient and advanced medical system. Expanding the amount of U.S green cards issued based on employment would decrease wait times for highly-skilled immigrants to weeks or months instead of years or decades. Currently, temporary work visas are not available for foreign nurses and employers; however, establishing a system that would allow these individuals to work in the United States would allow the U.S. to compete with global talent.
Throughout the country there are many areas where patients are underserved, and U.S. doctors are not able to pursue specialized fields because they are urged to serve a greater population with general medicine. By allowing more physicians, increasing the amount of foreign-trained doctors who can practice and changing limitations on medical residency in the U.S., NFAP suggests the country could gain a better healthcare system.
“Severe physician shortages have already hit children,” Mark Wietecha, president and chief executive of the Children’s Hospital Association, explained in the report. “Children are struggling to get timely medical care, with some waiting almost four months for subspecialist appointments even in communities served by a children’s hospital.”
Because of the increasing need for specialized care, the ability for America to meet the needs of citizens needs to change. The current immigration restrictions could lead to even longer wait times, the possibility of malpractice because medical officials are overworked and overall subpar medical care.