Stanford bill to reduce barriers for International medical graduates on way to governor’s desk

Sen. Derek Stanford

Legislation sponsored by 1st District State Sen. Derek Stanford and passed Tuesday by the House of Representatives will reduce barriers for international medical graduates who want to continue their professional careers in Washington state.

Sanford sponsored Senate Bill 6551, which addresses professional barriers for medical providers who graduate from institutions outside the U.S. and Canada. The bill is based on recommendations from a work group that was established by the legislature last year, which included experts from state medical schools, hospitals, the Department of Health, and others.

“By eliminating barriers for the many highly qualified medical professionals in Washington who are refugees or immigrants, we can ensure they are able to work in their profession,” said Stanford. “In addition to helping them fully participate in our communities, this will allow us to address public health challenges in our state, such as the shortage of physicians, the lack of access to culturally competent care, and the need for access to quality care for vulnerable communities.”

Oversight by the Washington Medical Commission will ensure high standards are maintained as care is expanded, Stanford said.

“Some of the most inspiring and talented individuals I’ve met are international medical graduates who are committed to making a difference here in Washington,” said Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), cosponsor of SB 6551. “This bill will help our state develop the multilingual and diverse workforce of doctors needed to tackle health disparities and other public health challenges.”

Having passed in the Senate earlier this year, the bill can now be signed into law by the governor.

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