2SSB 5846

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As Passed House - Amended:

April 12, 2019

Title: An act relating to the integration of international medical graduates into Washington's health care delivery system.

Brief Description: Concerning the integration of international medical graduates into Washington's health care delivery system.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senators Saldaña, Hasegawa, Randall, Nguyen, Wilson, C., Keiser, Das, Cleveland and Dhingra).

Brief History:

Committee Activity:

Health Care & Wellness: 3/22/19, 3/27/19 [DPA].

Floor Activity:

Passed House - Amended: 4/12/19, 97-1.

Brief Summary of Second Substitute Bill

(As Amended by House)

  • Establishes the International Medical Graduate Work Group.


Majority Report: Do pass as amended. Signed by 14 members: Representatives Cody, Chair; Macri, Vice Chair; Schmick, Ranking Minority Member; Caldier, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Chambers, Davis, DeBolt, Harris, Jinkins, Riccelli, Robinson, Stonier, Thai and Tharinger.

Staff: Jim Morishima (786-7191).


Physicians are licensed by the Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC). A physician who graduates from a medical school within the United States or Canada must meet qualifications, including passage of an examination, completion of two years of post-graduate medical training approved by the MQAC, good moral character, and the ability to safely practice medicine.

Graduates from foreign medical schools must meet all of the requirements applicable to graduates from domestic medical schools. In addition, such graduates must pass the examination given by the Educational Council for Foreign Medical Graduates and be able to read, write, speak, understand, and be understood in English.

A foreign medical school graduate is exempt from the post-graduate training requirement if he or she has:

Summary of Amended Bill:

Subject to the availability of funds appropriated for the specific purpose, the International Medical Graduate Work Group (IMGWG) is established with the following members appointed by the Governor:

By December 1, 2019, the IMGWG must submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature regarding:

The work group is staffed by the MQAC and expires on June 30, 2020.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date of Amended Bill: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony:

(In support) International medical graduates are highly qualified individuals who often have extensive medical training and have passed all required examinations. These graduates are capable of delivering care to underserved communities in a linguistically and culturally appropriate manner. These graduates face barriers to full licensure, however. For example, it can be difficult for international medical graduates to find residency slots. When they do find residency slots, they must often pay for the residencies out of their own pockets. This results in these graduates being underemployed. Many international medical graduates move to other states, where licensure is easier. This bill will help identify pathways to help meet unmet needs in Washington. The bill will help communities stay healthy and address health crises like the opioid crisis or the measles outbreak.

(Opposed) None.

Persons Testifying: Senator Saldaña, prime sponsor; and Yulia Sledneva, Mahmoud Omar, Mohamed Khalif, Marwa Saad, Oksana Nesterenko, and Anab Abdullahi, International Medical Graduates.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: None.