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US moves to ease licensing process for international doctors    

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A new Tennessee law scheduled to kick in come July 2024 aims to make it easier for international doctors to join the healthcare force in the United States.   

This initiative seeks to address the persistent shortage of physicians, particularly in underserved areas. While the law holds promise, there are whispers of potential gaps that could dampen its impact.  

A recent Perspective, shared in the pages of the November edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, takes a closer look at this groundbreaking law, urging for tweaks to ensure it not only enhances healthcare access but also safeguards the well-being of those at the frontline. 

Titled “Opening the Door Wider to International Medical Graduates—The Significance of a New Tennessee Law,” this piece comes from the researchers at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.  

The shortage of physicians in the U.S. has been a lingering challenge, and international doctors, constituting a quarter of the physician workforce, play a crucial role in bridging this gap.  

Yet, they face formidable barriers compared to their domestic counterparts.  

Hao Yu, an associate professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School and the senior author of this Perspective, emphasized the untapped potential of international doctors, stating, 

The focus of this perspective is Tennessee’s Senate Bill (SB) 1451.  

This bill is breaking new ground by making it possible for international doctors, licensed in another country, to practice in the U.S. without having to complete a U.S.-based residency training program.

While this shift from the norm holds promise, the authors of the Perspective urge a careful approach to its implementation. 

 

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