Skip to content
    All posts

    A New Era in Medicine: The Implications of Tennessee’s New Rules for International Medical Graduates

    A New Era in Medicine: The Implications of Tennessee’s New Rules for International Medical Graduates

    In an effort to combat the growing physician shortage in the United States, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee recently signed HB 1312 into law, making Tennessee the first state to allow international medical graduates to work without attending a residency program.

    HB 1312 grants provisional licenses to international medical graduates who hold full licenses in good standing in other countries and have passed the same standardized medical exams that U.S. medical graduates must pass. Once they've practiced for two years under the supervision of a Tennessee‐licensed physician, they can receive unrestricted licenses.

    This law is expected to disrupt trends and help Tennessee address its predicted shortage of 5,989 physicians by 2030, 1,107 of them being primary care doctors. Not only will this benefit the state, but it also provides an opportunity for refugees, immigrants, and even U.S. citizens with foreign medical training to utilize their skills fully without undergoing redundant residency training.

    Currently, doctors who complete residency abroad and have years of experience have to restart training after post-residency practice. This new law removes this requirement, potentially freeing up residency slots for recent graduates who fail to secure a residency program after medical school each year.

    Despite these benefits, the law has sparked a debate. Critics worry this reform will reduce the quality of doctors treating American patients. However, the law maintains the state medical boards' quality assurance role and adds a second layer of quality assurance by requiring these newly licensed doctors to work at a hospital or licensed medical facility for the first two years of practice. There are also concerns about the creation of a "midlevel" physician cohort and the potential for hospital corporations to exploit doctors from around the world, driving down U.S. compensation.

    What remains unknown is the official position of significant medical associations like the American Medical Association on this new law. This information could provide further insight into how this law might be received and possibly replicated in other states.

    This new law represents a significant shift in the medical practice landscape in the United States. It holds the potential to address physician shortages, particularly in rural and underserved areas, but also raises important questions about quality of care and the future structure of the medical profession. As the first state to take this step, Tennessee's experience will likely inform the debate in other states facing similar challenges.

    The real effects on residencies and medical practices across the United States will become clearer as we observe the law's implementation and impact in the coming years.


    No matter your program, no matter the size, Med-Challenger for Residencies can better prepare your residents and increase test scores.

    For personal medical education that includes board's prep, MOC, and CME requirements, Med-Challenger has you covered in Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, OBGYN, Urgent Care, Physician Assistants, and Nurse Practitioners