Last Updated: Sep 23, 2021
House Bill 245, legislation introduced at the request of PAMED, cleared the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee by a unanimous vote of 14-0. The legislation will bring parity to medical residency requirements for International Medical Graduates (IMG) and their U.S. and Canadian counterparts. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration. Passage is expected in the coming weeks.
Under the current Medical Practice Act of 185 (P.L. 457, No. 112), graduates of U.S. and Canadian accredited medical colleges, who seek to become allopathic physicians, must successfully complete a total of two years in an approved medical residency program. However, International Medical Graduates must complete three years of residency. The differing residency requirements were created in response to concerns that International Medical Graduates faced less rigorous testing and training than medical students at accredited schools. However, in recent years, this has changed, and International Medical Graduates are now held to the same demanding standards as their domestic counterparts.
Currently, all medical graduates must successfully pass the United States Medical Licensure Examinations (USMLE) Steps 1, as well as a comprehensive English exam. Additionally, International Medical Graduates must also receive an Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certification and complete a one-year training program the same as American and Canadian medical graduates.
Since these students are now subject to the same requirements as American and Canadian medical graduates, the additional one-year residency requirement has become overly restrictive and creates unnecessary delays for qualified physicians wishing to treat patients at a time when we need as many qualified front line practitioners as possible. The Pennsylvania health care workforce relies upon health professionals from other countries to provide high-quality patient care and this bill will help address the shortage of physicians during the current pandemic and into the future.
Additionally, the bill was amended to remove restrictions on how many affiliated facilities a Pennsylvania physician may practice or teach under an institutional license. The previous rule only allowed a licensee to practice at only two affiliated facilities. The amendment removes the cap.