Durbin, Perdue Lead Bipartisan Group Of Members Urging Congress To Address Shortage Of Doctors, Nurses

Members Push To Include Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act In The Next COVID-19 Relief Package

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) led a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to include their bipartisan, bicameral Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act in the next coronavirus relief package.  This legislation was introduced earlier this year to quickly strengthen the health care workforce and improve health care access for Americans during the COVID-19 crisis.  It has received strong support from our nation’s medical community.

The members’ proposal would recapture 25,000 unused immigrant visas for nurses and 15,000 unused immigrant visas for doctors that Congress has previously authorized and allocate those visas to doctors and nurses who can help in the fight against COVID-19. 

The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act currently has 36 bipartisan sponsors in the Senate and 59 bipartisan sponsors in the House of Representatives.

“Our nation has long faced a significant shortage of both physicians and nurses, and the coronavirus crisis is only making this problem more acute,” the members wrote.  “The widespread effects of the coronavirus on our medical personnel, coupled with our already-existing medical worker shortages, significantly undermine the resilience of our healthcare workforce.”

“We urge you to strengthen our nation’s path toward recovery by including the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act in the next coronavirus relief package,” the members concluded.

The letter was led by U.S. Senators Perdue and Durbin, and signed by Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who are original cosponsors of the legislation in the Senate.  It was also signed by U.S. Representatives Bradley Schneider (D-IL), Tom Cole (R-OK), Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), and Don Bacon (R-NE), who introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. 

The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act is supported by dozens of organizations including the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, American Hospital Association, American Organization for Nursing Leadership, Physicians for American Healthcare Access, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Rural Health Association, American Medical Association, Society of Hospital Medicine, Federation of American Hospitals, American College of Physicians, and the Bipartisan Policy Center. 

The full text of the letter to leadership is available here.  

Full text of the bill is available here.  A summary of the legislation is available here.  A section-by-section of the legislation is available here