“Physician Shortage in the US and International Medical Graduates”
Regardless of the many factors influencing the supply of physicians such as movement away from managed care, increase in the number of female physicians, lifestyle preferences, population growth, and increase in average lifespan, there still continues to be a physician shortage here in the United States. In order to fill these available positions in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and clinics due to the physician shortage, we are using IMGs, or international medical graduates.
International medical graduates, or IMGs, are medical school graduates that received, acquired, and obtained their training and education outside of the United States. International medical graduates are found more abundantly in the public sector of health care. IMGs are utilized more often than domesticated US physicians due to their increased availability, extended hours, and often cheaper fees-for-service. Who wouldn’t want a physician who is available, convenient, and cheap?
For those of you that didn’t know, IMGs, or international medical graduates, “comprise 26% of the United States’ physician workforce.” This percentage is equivalent to approximately “180,000 physicians.” So, “one in four doctors practicing in the US are international medical graduates.” Therefore, “one-quarter of all physicians currently practicing in the US, and 10-15% of trainees in residency programs are international medical graduates.”
In the US, we see an increased supply of IMGs, or international medical graduates. There are many factors that contribute to this supply of IMGs. Among those factors are: specialties, geographic locations, and employment settings avoided by US medical graduates, a surplus of residency positions in teaching hospitals, and increased market penetration of managed care plans in urban areas.