The US State Department has urged medical professionals seeking to work in the US to reach out to the nearest embassy to request a visa appointment
The statement says that “We encourage medical professionals seeking to work in the United States on a work or exchange visitor, particularly those working to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19, to reach out to the nearest embassy or consulate to request a visa appointment.”
As for those foreign medical professionals already in the United States:
“J-1 Alien Physicians (medical residents) may consult with their program sponsor, ECFMG, to extend their programs in the United States. Generally, a J-1 program for a foreign medical resident can be extended one year at a time for up to seven years.” It says.
The American Medical Association (AMA) had urged the Trump Administration to take critical steps to expand the physician workforce to meet the increasing demands on the American health system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting-Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, the AMA called for opening visa processing at embassies and consulates worldwide for physicians seeking to join U.S. residency programs starting in July, and urged public confirmation that J-1 physicians are permitted to be redeployed to new rotations.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. was already facing a serious shortage of physicians largely due to the growth and aging of the population and the impending retirement of many physicians.
Non-U.S. citizen IMGs play a critical role in providing health care to many Americans, especially in areas of the country with higher rates of poverty and chronic disease. Nearly 21 million people live in areas of the U.S. where foreign-trained physicians account for at least half of all physicians.
Individuals with serious chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, are at a higher risk of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19. During this pandemic it is even more critical that our non-U.S. citizen IMGs have the support they need from the Administration to provide health care to those patients battling COVID-19.
The US has more coronavirus cases than any other country – surpassing both China and Italy – and experts warn the worst is yet to come.
The number of US coronavirus infections climbed above 82,000 on Thursday (Mar 26), surpassing the national tallies of China and Italy, as New York, New Orleans and other hot spots faced a surge in hospitalisations and looming shortages of supplies, staff and sick beds.
The US death toll from COVIDー19, rose beyond 1,200.
With about 40 per cent of Americans under lockdown orders, US President Donald Trump urged citizens to do their part by practicing social distancing.
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