AAPI’s symposium to discuss immigration reforms

Shortage of doctors will get worse with health care reforms, says AAPI President.

By The American Bazaar Staff

WASHINGTON, DC: The inaugural Capitol Hill Health Care Symposium, organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), is scheduled to be held on September 18th at the Rayburn House.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, co-chair of the AAPI Legislative Affairs Committee, said that several legislators will attend the meet.

“Many prominent Congressmen and Senators are expected to address the symposium. We assure it will be very informative and rewarding experience,” said Shivangi, according to a release issued by the AAPI.

Dr. Harbhajan Ajrawat, Chair of AAPI Legislative Affairs Committee, says that the symposium will also have a panel discussion on immigration reforms and ways for AAPI members to be part of the process in the implementation of the health care reforms in this country.

Dr. Jayesh Shah, President of AAPI, addressing this summer’s annual convention in Chicago had said that AAPI members should be at the table during implementation stage of the health care reforms.

“I want AAPI members to remember – if you are not at the table, then you are most probably on the menu,” he said.

Shah’s statement is substantiated by the sheer number of Indian origin physicians in the US.

Indian Americans constitute less than one percent of the country’s population, but they account for nine percent of the American doctors and physicians. According to Forbes magazine, “the overrepresentation of Indians in these fields (engineering, IT and medicine) is striking – in practical terms, one out of seven doctors is likely to be of Indian heritage. They provide medical care to over 40 million of the US population.”

As part of comprehensive immigration reform, AAPI has urged Congress to include international medical graduates also along with international students graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), to be fast-tracked for Green Cards. This proposal enables highly-skilled workers to remain in the US after completing graduate studies. Among the areas where AAPI had sought US lawmakers to support their agenda included increasing 15,000 more Residency Positions.

“The millions of people who will become insured under the health system reform law will compound the issue,” says Dr. Shah, past chair of the AMA International Medical Graduate Section. “The shortage is going to get worse with the health care reform.”

Shah says that, “while medical school enrollment has climbed 2% annually over the past five years through new schools and expansion of existing schools, the number of residency slots funded by Medicare has been capped at about 100,000 since 1997. Increasing GME position will help to address access issues in United States.”

 

Stating that the US is currently experiencing a physician shortage, which will be exacerbated by retiring baby boomers, affecting thousands of patients’ access to a physician, and ultimately the health care they need, AAPI strongly supports the “Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2013, introduced by U.S. Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) (H.R. 1180) and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) (S. 577), which would provide an additional 15,000 residency positions in Fiscal Years 2015-2019.

“A new era has begun. AAPI will discover her own potential to be a player in shaping the health of each patient with a focus on health maintenance than disease intervention. To be a player in crafting the delivery of health care in the most efficient manner. To strive for equality in health globally,” Dr. Shah said, in the release.

Lawmakers who have confirmed their participation at the symposium include: Congressmen Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman – House Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Ranking member – Health Subcommittee, House Energy and Commerce Committee; Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Past co-chair – Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans; Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Co-chairman – Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans; Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Co-chairman – Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans; and Rep.  Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ranking member, Immigration Subcommittee and House Judiciary Committee.

To contact the author, email to editor@americanbazaaronline.com

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