New Law on Alabama’s Doctor shortage Goes Into Effect Tuesday

Published 6:55 am Monday, July 31, 2023

Starting Tuesday, a Alabama law goes into effect to solve the state’s Doctor shortage.

The Medical Association of the State of Alabama says Alabama needs more physicians to meet current healthcare requirements.

Governor Kay Ivey signed the Physician Workforce Act in the spring.

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Here’s what the law does:

-Makes it easier for physicians moving from other states to begin practicing medicine in Alabama sooner by eliminating an additional test designed to test current knowledge known as the SPEX (Special Purpose Exam).

-Accelerates licensure for International Medical Graduates by allowing them to apply for a medical license a year earlier during their training.

-Creates an apprenticeship-like program for medical school graduates who were not matched into a residency program so they train under the supervision of a fully licensed Alabama physician while they reapply for residency.

“The Physician Workforce Act will expand the pool of trained physicians practicing in our state, improve patient access to timely care and put Alabama on the path toward a healthier future,” said Dr. George Koulianos, a Mobile doctor who serves as President of the Medical Association.

Beginning Tuesday, the new law does:

-The current requirements for SPEX testing will be eliminated for out of state physicians wanting to practice medicine in Alabama.

-International Medical Graduates, who make up 20 percent of Alabama’s current physician workforce, will be eligible to take the final exam in the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination process after two years of residency training.

-The Alabama Board of Medical Examiners will begin crafting rules to govern the apprenticeship-like program.