With a shortage of rheumatologists in the U.S. already a problem and projected to get far worse, the ACR is advocating the passage of a variety of laws that would help narrow the gap.
Legislation being fought for by ACR advocacy leaders involves streamlining visa processing for foreign physicians and promoting incentives for physicians to work in rural and underserved areas (H.R. 2141/S. 898); easing restrictions on medical education and training slots that limit the ability to train new rheumatologists (H.R. 2267); and making pediatric subspecialists, such as pediatric rheumatologists, eligible for scholarships and loan repayments to healthcare providers in exchange for working in regions that are underserved (S. 989).
The ACR is also asking Congress to maintain the viability of programs that help new rheumatologists repay loans and reduce total loan payments, and to reinstate the expedited review process for foreign physicians under the H-1B visa program, says Lennie Shewmaker, senior manager of federal affairs for the ACR.