In an exclusive interview with the Daily Caller, Shari Costantini, President of the American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment (AAIHR), explains how Congress could remedy the shortage of nurses in the U.S. in a phase 4 stimulus package.
“Right now, there’s about 12,000 – 15,000 nurses outside the US that have met all the qualifications to be nurses in the US. But they can’t come in because there’s not enough visas available,” explained Costantini.
“What congress can do is recapture some unused immigrant visas from the 1990’s an apply them to nurses – which are designated shortage professions by the Department of Labor,” she continued.
Congress has recaptured visas before. In 2005 Congress granted 50,000 unused visas to be given to registered nurses overseas. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Italian Reporter Says Italy Hasn’t Seen A Crisis Like This Since WWII)
Costantini said that the AAIHR has been working with senators to get this included the 4th stimulus package that Congress is working on.
Congress “would have to add … language into the coronavirus stimulus package number 4,” she explained.
“And what we propose is that they apply it to nurses that have approved visa petitions, in this fiscal year which by September 30 and allow those nurses to come in.”
The massive influx of patients caused by the coronavirus means that not only are nurses overworked, but patient and medical staff lives are at stake.
“For every additional patient that a nurse takes, over 5 or 6 patients, leads to a 10% higher mortality rate.” Constantini told the Caller.
Nurses currently handling COVID-19 patients in New York are reportedly taking on 10-12 patients a shift.
“So, if you figure that the mortality rate is going up 10% for every patient that they’re taking after 6 patients, that’s pretty dramatic.”