Rep. Roybal-Allard Reintroduces PATH Act to Integrate Internationally Trained Health Professionals Into U.S. Health Workforce
Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) reintroduced the Professional’s Access to Health (PATH) Workforce Integration Act. Under the PATH Act, internationally trained health professionals who are U.S. citizens, or immigrants legally residing in the U.S., would have a pipeline to enter America’s workforce of health professionals. This pipeline would enable them to find jobs that reflect their education, skills, and expertise.
“If we want to address the health care needs of America’s growing population, while also bolstering our government’s revenues and strengthening our economy, it is critical that we pass the PATH Workforce Integration Act,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. “Our nation’s demand for health services compels us to use our full range of health professionals to keep our families healthy. Sadly, we are leaving many of these professionals unemployed or underemployed. That is costing our nation billions of dollars in tax revenue and earnings. The PATH Act will help us ensure that internationally trained health professionals who are American citizens, or immigrants legally residing in the U.S., can use their talent and training to their greatest extent.”
“The public health workforce needs to be strengthened if our country wants to meet the health needs of the future,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association. “Internationally trained health professionals can help the U.S. health system meet its access challenges and workforce shortages by bringing skilled and competent health professionals to our communities.”
Enacting the PATH Act would not interfere with educational or licensing requirements necessary to work in the U.S., nor assist with obtaining permanent status. However, this bill would:
• Offer counseling and training opportunities to reduce barriers to entry and advancement in the health workforce;
• Assist in the evaluation of international credentials;
• Facilitate access to contextualized and accelerated courses on English as a second language; and
• Help to educate employers regarding the abilities and capacities of health professionals who have been educated outside of the U.S.
A report from New American Economy (NAE), World Education Services (WES), and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) reveals that high-skilled workers educated internationally, regardless of immigration status, also experience barriers with gaining employment in the U.S. The report approximates that two million college-educated immigrants in America are either unemployed or underemployed (“underemployed” meaning that they are high-skilled workers employed in low-skilled positions). According to the report, the state of California alone would have gained an additional $9.39 billion in tax revenue and earnings had immigrant college graduates not been unemployed or underemployed between 2009 and 2013.