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AAPI seeks end to physician shortage

Washington, April 12 (IANS) An influential group of Indian-American doctors has proposed a comprehensive legislative agenda to end the shortage of physicians in the US, which would need a staggering 130,000 doctors by 2025.

Members of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), representing thousands of Indian-American doctors, spent Thursday in the Capitol Hill meeting lawmakers to press their agenda.

This includes a provision for green cards for physicians graduating from accredited US residency programs in the proposed comprehensive immigration reform bill.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicts that America will need 90,000 physicians by 2020 and a staggering 130,000 by 2025.

Among other things AAPI urged the lawmakers to support two bills in the house and the senate introduced by Democrat House member Joe Crowley and Democrat Senator Bill Nelson to address the shortage of physicians.

Crowley, co-chair of the Congressional India Caucus, who has sponsored the “Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2013,” assured AAPI members that he would work for their legislative agenda.

Other lawmakers who addressed the doctors’ conclave included Republicans Phil Gingrey and Phil Roe and Democrats Jim McDermott, Frank Pallone, and Zoe Lofgren.

AAPI has also suggested making the J-1 visa waiver programme — that allows international medical graduates to do their medical training and residency in the US — permanent; an increase in residency positions and the enrollment in medical schools and providing a permanent fix to the medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.

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