Nevada Assembly Passes Bill To Protect Physicians on J-1 Visas
The Nevada Assembly last week voted to approve a bill (SB 229) that would authorize the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services to stop the exploitation of foreign physicians who have come to the state to provide care to residents in underserved areas, the Las Vegas Sun reports. The measure now goes to Gov. Jim Gibbons (R) for his approval (Allen, Las Vegas Sun, 5/28).
A September 2007 Sun investigation of the J-1 visa program found that some foreign physicians were forced by their sponsors to work up to 100 hours per week, and were being "cheated out of their salaries" and "diverted from the patients" in underserved areas whom they were supposed to help (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 8/6/08).
The legislation would make violations of the J-1 program more clearly punishable under state law and prosecutable by the attorney general's office; charge J-1 physician sponsors a fee to cover the cost of enforcing the law; and protect whistle-blowers (Las Vegas Sun, 5/28).