Having served the nation as Deputy Surgeon General and then Acting Surgeon General, Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu understands the most pressing issues in American health care. It’s worth noting, then, that Dr. Moritsugu identifies the country’s nursing shortage as a “crisis” that “threatens the foundation of our healthcare system.”

Dr. Moritsugu argues that “[n]ow, more than ever, it is imperative that legislators enact thoughtful policies to support an industry in triage mode.”

Specifically, Dr. Moritsugu points to the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act (HWRA) as a promising bill that would quickly increase the number of qualified, well-trained nurses who can treat American patients.

As he writes, the “bill would recapture unused immigrant visas from years past and redistribute them to qualified healthcare professionals seeking employment in the United States, currently in an unnecessary backlog of applicants.”

Foreign-educated nurses play an essential role in America’s health care facilities. These nurses receive their education and training abroad but seek career advancement in the United States where they mitigate our nursing shortage and provide expert, compassionate care that meets the highest professional standards.

The HWRA takes a commonsense approach that would quickly help staff hospitals without making any significant change to immigration policy. It merely repurposes unused visas that were already made available and prioritizes them for foreign-educated nurses.

Dr. Moritsugu notes that the nursing shortage has put patient care at risk, making the HWRA’s timely passage even more important.

Read Dr. Moritsugu’s full piece here.