Trend: More than half of primary-care doctor grads are immigrants

If the primary-care physician shortage hasn't absolutely exploded, it seems we have your friendly immigrant doctor to thank. After all, unless something changes dramatically in the way U.S. healthcare in structured, we're not likely to see a change in the rate of new primary-care doctors coming into the profession, experts say.

As many FierceHealthcare readers already know, many U.S.-based medical students are shying away from primary care, largely because primary-care physicians make far less than specialists. As a result, many institutions are hiring foreign-trained residency graduates; in fact, more than half of all primary-care residency graduates are immigrants.

Healthcare institutions aren't cutting corners by hiring such residents, by any means. To be licensed in the U.S., foreign-trained physicians must still pass the same medical boards as U.S. med school grads, then attend the same residency programs. Then, to get residency training slots, they need the same test scores and references as domestically-trained med students.

If there's any issue with immigrant physicians, it's that there's sometimes questions about whether there will be a cultural fit between the new doctor and, say, homogeneous rural communities that don't see too many people with an accent or unusual mannerisms. But observers think having access to much-needed services will outweigh that concern quickly.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this Kaiser Health News piece

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