On Jan. 7, the AMA submitted a coalition sign on letter opposing a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Interim Final Rule (IFR) that allows virtually all Veterans Health Administration (VHA)-employed non-physician providers (NPP), as defined in the U.S. Code (38 U.S.C. 7401(1) or (3)), to practice outside the scope of the licensure and regardless of state scope of practice law. The AMA and 101 specialty and state medical societies that signed onto the letter opposed the IFR's preemption of state license and oversight requirements and refuted the VA's assertion that its new electronic health record (EHR) system required uniform privileging irrespective of where care is provided.

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On Jan. 7, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) finalized a rule that replaces the current H-1B Cap Selection Process with one that prioritizes occupations with higher wages and selects registrations based on the highest prevailing wage for the occupation and area of intended employment. The AMA submitted comments opposing the proposed rule on grounds that a waged-based system would harm access to health care for rural and underserved communities. Under the new system, H1-B applicants would be considered solely based on the amount of money that they would be paid, rather than the utility that they would bring to the U.S. workforce.

The AMA has developed three new resources on COVID-19 transmission risks (PDF), mask usage (PDF) and updates on vaccine approval processes. The resources on transmission risk and mask usage were created with a patient audience in mind and cover assessing risk factors, how to limit risk, how to select a mask that provides adequate protection and when to wear a mask.

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