Policy Solutions to Address the Foreign-Educated and Foreign-Born Health Care Workforce in the United States

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 32, no. 11, Nov. 2013, p. 1906-1913

Posted on RAND.org on November 01, 2013

by Peggy G. Chen, David I. Auerbach, Ulrike Muench, Leslie Curry, Elizabeth Bradley

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Foreign-educated and foreign-born health workers constitute a sizable and important portion of the US health care workforce. We review the distribution of these workers and their countries of origin, and we summarize the literature concerning their contributions to US health care. We also report on these workers' experiences in the United States and the impact their migration has on their home countries. Finally, we present policy strategies to increase the benefits of health care worker migration to the United States while mitigating its negative effects on the workers' home countries. These strategies include attracting more people with legal permanent residency status into the health workforce, reimbursing home countries for the cost of educating health workers who subsequently migrate to the United States, improving policies to facilitate the entry of direct care workers into the country, advancing efforts to promote and monitor ethical migration and recruitment practices, and encouraging the implementation of programs by US employers to improve the experience of immigrating health workers.

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