Indian-American doctors seek a say in immigration reform
Washington: An influential group of Indian -American doctors have said they will approach the Congress seeking a say in the immigration reform, as they said the country was facing shortage of doctors with present mechanism.
American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) ?- the largest ethnic association of physicians in the US -- has also announced to hold a symposium on health care at the Capitol Hill on September 18, in which several members of the Congress are expected to attend.
"AAPI is once again in the forefront in bringing many burning health care issues facing the community at large and bringing this to the Capitol and to the US Congress," said Dr Sampat Shivangi, co-chair of AAPI Legislative Affairs Committee.
"Many prominent US Congressmen and the Senators are expected to address the symposium," he said.
Indian-Americans constitute less than one percent of America's population, but they account for nine percent of the country's doctors and physicians.
"The over representation of Indians in these fields (engineering, IT and medicine) is striking in practical terms, one out of seven doctors is likely to be of Indian Heritage," Forbes magazine recently wrote.
"The symposium will have a panel discussion on Immigration Reform and ways for AAPI members to be part of the process in the implementation of the health care reform in this country," said Dr Harbhajan Ajrawat, chair of AAPI Legislative Affairs Committee.
As part of comprehensive immigration reform, AAPI has urged the Congress to include international medical graduates also, along with international students graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) being fast-tracked for Green Cards.
This proposal enables highly-skilled workers to remain in the United States after receiving their higher education in America. Among the areas where AAPI had sought US lawmakers to support their agenda included increasing 15,000 more Residency Positions.
"The millions of people who will become insured under the health system reform law will compound the issue," said Dr Jayesh Shah, AAPI president and past chair of the AMA International Medical Graduate Section.
"The shortage is going to get worse with the health care reform," he said.
The US, he said is currently experiencing a physician shortage, which will be exacerbated by retiring baby boomers, affecting thousands of patients' access to a physician, and ultimately the health care they need.
AAPI strongly supports the 'Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2013,' introduced by Congressman Joe Crowley and Senator Bill Nelson, which would provide an additional 15,000 residency positions in Fiscal Years 2015-2019, the statement said.