Proposed Legislation Could Bring Parity to Pa. Medical Residency Requirements, Increase Access to Care

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2017

Right now, international medical graduates (IMGs) in Pennsylvania – that is, physicians who graduated from a medical school outside of the U.S. and Canada – are required to complete three years of Graduate Medical Education (GME) training in a residency program to be eligible for licensure. By contrast, U.S. and Canadian medical graduates must complete two years of residency to become fully licensed.

Pennsylvania Rep. Aaron Kaufer plans to introduce a bill – on the Pennsylvania Medical Society's (PAMED) behalf – that would bring parity to medical residency requirements in the Commonwealth. PAMED worked with Rep. Kaufer to craft the proposed legislation, which would amend the state's Medical Practice Act of 1985.

 "The differing residency requirements were initially created in response to concerns that International Medical Graduates faced less rigorous testing and training than medical students of accredited schools," said Rep. Kaufer in a memo to House members. "In recent years, however, International Medical Graduates have been held to the same demanding standards as their domestic peers."

If the bill is introduced and enacted, it has the potential to alleviate physician workforce shortages and increase access to care for Pennsylvania patients.

What Steps Has PAMED Taken to Ensure Parity for Medical Residents in Pennsylvania?

In October 2015, the Pennsylvania Medical Society's IMG Section brought the issue of medical residency requirements parity to the attention of PAMED's House of Delegates (HOD).

The physician delegates at the HOD adopted a policy supporting parity between IMGs and American and Canadian medical school graduates who wish to obtain a Pennsylvania medical license to practice as autonomous physicians. They voted for PAMED to aggressively pursue that parity, including by legislative means.

PAMED's supports Rep. Kaufer's proposed legislation. We will be closely monitoring developments and will share any updates with members.

To learn more about PAMED's advocacy initiatives for patients and physicians in Pennsylvania, visit

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