High U.S. salaries attract foreign docs

High physician salaries are luring more international physicians to the United States, as well as making it hard for them to leave, The New York Times reported.

For instance, the average salary of a surgeon in New Jersey is about $216,000. In Lusaka, Zambia, a surgeon makes about $24,000 a year.

With healthcare practitioners and healthcare support staff getting the highest pay in California and Alaska, it's no surprise that the United States is the world's most popular destination for migrating doctors--attracting more every year than Britain, Canada and Australia, the Times noted.

"For the foreseeable future, every health provider, from Harvard University's facilities all the way down to a rural clinic in the Ethiopian desert, is competing for medical talent, and the winners are those with money," Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Times.

U.S. hospitals may welcome the influx of international physicians to the country, as American Medical News reported that foreign-trained healthcare professionals may be a solution to the looming physician shortage.

Meanwhile, medically underserved communities may get more foreign-born physicians providing care. A proposed bill, supported by the American Hospital Association, would allow state health departments to receive more than 30 visa waivers for foreign physicians per year to work in underserved areas, according to AHA News Now.

For more information:
- read the Times article
- here's the AHA News Now brief

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