U Pushes Med. Student Bill Through Committee

U medical officials are pushing lawmakers to help medical students who study at foreign universities receive licensure in Utah.

The bill drafted by U officials and sponsored by Sen. Edgar Allen, D-Weber/Davis, amends the Utah Medical Practice Act passed in 1997. The Senate Health Committee approved the amendment Wednesday and the full Senate is expected to vote on the bill by the end of the week.

If approved, the amendment?nicknamed the “fifth pathway”?would allow students who study at foreign medical schools to receive licensure in Utah after four requirements are met.

More than 40 states already have legislation providing a “fifth pathway” after these requirements.

Many foreign medical schools require students to complete four years of education, and an additional two years of social service and internship. This amendment allows students to leave the foreign programs after the schooling and come to the United States to do their residency.

The bill provides students who complete the four years of schooling, receive a passing score on the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam parts I and II, and complete a one-year supervised clinical training at an accredited U.S. medical school to receive eligibility for internships and residency to medical programs within Utah.

The bill is designed to help Utahns who study outside of the United States to return to the state and receive licensure enabling them to practice as a physician or surgeon, said Steve Ratcliffe, program director of family practice residency in the department of family and preventive medicine.

Mexican schools heavily recruit students from the United States, Ratcliffe said. At graduation, most students who study within the United States enter specialty fields leaving primary care such as internal medicine and family practice in need of doctors. “This would help relieve that need,” Ratcliffe said.

“We have not seen any opposition to this bill, and we don’t expect to see any on the Senate floor either,” said Kim Wirthlin, assistant vice president for health sciences legislative and public affairs.

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