Healthcare Leadership Council Endorses Bipartisan Senate Legislation to Address Physician, Nurse Shortages
WASHINGTON – Emergency legislation to help alleviate the critical shortage of doctors and nurses needed to treat COVID-19 patients has been endorsed by the Healthcare Leadership Council, an organization comprised of companies from all health sectors.
The bill, sponsored by Senators David Perdue (R-GA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Todd Young (R-IN), and Chris Coons (D-DE) would provide necessary flexibility for up to 25,000 qualified nurses to enter the US, and 15,000 American-trained doctors to go where they are needed most. All of these medical professionals have been waiting in the green card backlog even though they are urgently needed now to help treat and care for people in the United States with COVID-19. The legislation would help victims of the pandemic by recapturing a small portion of employment-based visas that have been authorized by Congress but, to date, unused.
“Even before COVID-19 began affecting hundreds of thousands of Americans, we were facing workforce shortages in the health sector,” said HLC president Mary R. Grealy. “Now numerous hospitals and clinics are being taxed beyond their capacity by an enormous influx of coronavirus patients. These senators are offering a sensible and urgently-needed solution that will help ensure patients can get the care they need when they need it.”
This legislation, Ms. Grealy said, is not unprecedented. Congress passed a similar bill in 2005 to address a growing nursing shortage.
“We urge Congress to act expeditiously on this legislation,” said Ms. Grealy. “Americans see in their communities and on the news each day how healthcare workers are acting heroically to meet unprecedented challenges. It’s essential that we bring in reinforcements.”
April 30, 2020
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