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Friday, June 11, 2010

New US health bill to push demand for Filipino nurses

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By Jessica B. Natad (The Freeman) Updated June 05, 2010 12:00 AM

CEBU, Philippines - The demand for Filipino nurses abroad, especially in the United States (US), is expected to surge in the coming years with US President Barack Obama’s signing into law the US ’ health reform bill.

“It’s just a matter of time. They (US) would need plenty of doctors and nurses to take care of some 26 million Americans who will be covered by (the US government’s health insurance,)” said Potenciano Larrazabal, president and chairman of the board of Cebu Doctors’ Group of Companies.

The US health reform bill benefits mostly households making less than four times the poverty level. Those without insurance in this group will become eligible to receive subsidies, according to a report.

Larrazabal said in an interview that the US will be able to absorb more nurses after Congress will be able to modify the retrogression law that the country is following in processing applications. The law, he said, is one factor that slowed down the entry of nurses to the US .

Retrogression is the term used by the US Government to describe when more people apply in a certain category than there are visas available. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) establishes the cut-off date, which is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be issued a visa within the numerical limits. Visa numbers are available only to those applicants with priority dates before the cut-off date.

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