Georgia law on illegal immigrants bogs down medical licensing

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ATLANTA — Officials say Georgia’s law cracking down on illegal immigration is causing administrative problems for doctors and creating more work for the state regulators who license them.

The law, passed last year to make it tougher for people to live and work in the state without proper documentation, includes a provision that requires all licensed professionals to prove their citizenship.

The Medical Association of Georgia said the law has created an administrative burden for physicians, and the small staff of Georgia’s Medical Composite Board is bogged down trying to process license renewals for Georgia’s 41,000 doctors and other medical professionals because of the requirement.

WSB-TV reported that some medical professionals have had to briefly stop seeing patients.

Doctors’ licenses must be renewed every two years. The task previously was done on a state Web site; doctors received immediate confirmation of their renewals after a few clicks and a payment.

Now, applicants must submit a notarized affidavit and identification proving U.S. citizenship, and the staff of the Medical Composite Board must review the information. The state said nearly a third of doctors are experiencing a delay of 10 or more days.

No one has been found who was living in the state illegally.

“I can tell you that we have not found one yet, and so far we’ve processed about 28,000 of these,” said Bob Jeffrey, the operations director for the agency. “So far, everyone is legal.”

The Medical Association of Georgia said it has been barraged with calls from doctors who are frantic about problems.

“We’ve received a number of complaints from our physician members discussing they’ve had a number of licensure delays,” said Donald Palmisano Jr., the executive director of the association.

Palmisano said the law has affected the way some doctors practice medicine.

“It’s added another administrative burden to physicians, so it’s taken away some time from their focus on patient care, and that’s where the real concern is,” Palmisano said.

Many groups are pushing lawmakers to make adjustments during their next session.

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itsanotherday1 11/26/12 - 01:05 pm
Seems like this is an easy

Seems like this is an easy fix.

twentieth century man
twentieth century man 11/26/12 - 03:02 pm
easy fix

It may be difficult to separate physicians, as small businesses, from other small businesses, thus, some aspects of the legal fix might not be so easy. This law would appear to be an unfunded mandate as far as registration via 1) drivers license copy and 2) sworn citizenship attestation are concerned. However, because the law purports to detect illegal aliens and many Georgia medical licensees live out of state, then, the law (HB 87) might detect illegal aliens in states other than Georgia, which might be a legal gray zone for a state law, although the medical license in question is from Georgia.

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