Home News COVID-19 – Impacts on IMGs and Their Contributions to U.S. Health Care

COVID-19 – Impacts on IMGs and Their Contributions to U.S. Health Care

In this Issue:

  • Strong Demand for J-1 Visa Sponsorship Continues, Few Issues with Visa Appointment Scheduling Reported
  • ECFMG Medical School Accreditation Requirement Moved to 2024
  • ECFMG|FAIMER Endorses Recommendations and Resources for Medical Students, Trainees, and Physicians during COVID-19
Strong Demand for J-1 Visa Sponsorship Continues, Few Issues with Visa Appointment Scheduling Reported

ECFMG|FAIMER continues to receive more J-1 visa sponsorship applications (initial and continuation) than in past years. As of May 12, 2020, there were 2,978 applications for initial J-1 visa sponsorship in process, the highest number at this point in the year in more than a decade. Once a J-1 visa sponsorship application is complete and all regulatory requirements are satisfied, ECFMG issues a Form DS-2019, which confirms J-1 sponsorship approval and permits a prospective J-1 physician to seek a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. More than 9,100 applications for initial and continued sponsorship have been completed and Forms DS-2019 issued. This represents a 7% increase over last year in the total number of sponsorship applications completed by this time.

Reports of issues related to visa appointment scheduling remain low, and ECFMG|FAIMER continues to contact the U.S. Department of State (DOS) immediately when we do hear of problems. DOS has been extremely proactive in communicating with consular posts around the globe about the importance of facilitating and supporting foreign national physicians who have matched to U.S. training programs that begin in summer 2020.   

ECFMG Medical School Accreditation Requirement Moved to 2024

ECFMG previously announced that, starting in 2023, applicants for ECFMG Certification will be required to be a student or graduate of a medical school that is appropriately accredited. More specifically, the medical school must be accredited by an agency recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). To date, 21 accrediting agencies have received WFME recognition, with many others in process. We are energized by the commitment to quality improvement demonstrated in response to this initiative.

At the same time, we recognize that many countries have been forced to suspend or limit their accreditation efforts due to COVID-19. As such, we are moving the implementation of the requirement to 2024. We will announce an effective date as we approach 2024; we will also continue to reassess this timeline as needed.

Further information regarding this change will be provided in the coming weeks on our website at www.ecfmg.org/accreditation

ECFMG|FAIMER Endorses Recommendations and Resources for Medical Students, Trainees, and Physicians during COVID-19

On May 11, the Coalition for Physician Accountability, of which ECFMG|FAIMER is a member, released final reports from two work groups that examined critical issues facing medical students, residents, medical educators, and medical regulators during the COVID-19 pandemic. ECFMG|FAIMER strongly endorses the work groups' recommendations.

  • Medical Students in the Class of 2021: Moving Across Institutions for Post Graduate Training

The current health care crisis presents new challenges for medical students/graduates, trainees, and U.S. training programs. This work group considered three major issues in preparation for the 2020-2021 residency cycle during the COVID-19 pandemic: away rotations, in-person interviews for residency, and the timeline for the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®). The recommendations will provide a consistent approach to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly reducing unnecessary confusion, stress, and inequity among students, and promoting a more successful residency selection process for all. 

  • Maintaining Quality and Safety Standards Amid COVID-19 
The pandemic has created a public health emergency that is rapidly altering the provision of health care services across the country. Physicians and other clinicians have responded with offers to provide care outside of their previously licensed jurisdiction and beyond their typical scope of practice. This work group has developed guidance and resources for the deployment of physicians, physicians in training (interns, residents, and fellows), and retired or inactive physicians, to ensure the safe delivery of quality clinical care during this unprecedented emergency. 

Read the full announcement and access the reports and recommendations here

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