Bipartisan Legislation Will Address Acute Healthcare Workforce Needs, Health Leaders Say

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2020 – The Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), comprised of health industry chief executives from all health sectors, today urged Congress to act swiftly on bipartisan legislation that would use already-existing visas to address physician and nurse shortages in the United States exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

HLC endorsed legislation sponsored in the U.S. House by Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL), Tom Cole (R-OK), Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), and Don Bacon (R-NE) that would provide flexibility for up to 25,000 qualified nurses and 15,000 American-trained doctors to enter the country and practice where they are needed most.  The legislation would utilize a small portion of employment-based visas that have been authorized by Congress but have, to date, been unused.  This bill would address the backlog of medical professionals seeking green cards who have been waiting in backlogs even as the United States faces urgent medical care needs.

A companion bill has already been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

“Doctors, nurses, and all healthcare professionals have been acting heroically throughout this public health crisis,” said HLC president Mary R. Grealy. “We can’t continue to ask them to operate, however, with extreme workforce shortages when we’re still seeing new COVID-19 cases emerging in the tens of thousands each day.  This legislation will help our hospitals and health systems meet these unprecedented challenges and deliver the care needed by a growing patient population.                             

Contact:  Kelly Fernandez  202-449-3452

The Healthcare Leadership Council is a coalition of chief executives of the nation’s leading health care companies and organizations. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthInFocus