MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — According to the Alabama Medical Association, the state is in need of roughly 3,000 doctors. The Physician Workforce Act aims to address that shortage.

The bill establishes an apprenticeship-like program for medical graduates who don’t match into residency programs so they can start working while training under a licensed physician.

It allows international medical graduates to apply for a license in two years instead of three. They would still complete three years of training but with a license earlier in the process. It also repeals an out-of-state testing requirement for physicians looking to move to Alabama.

During a press conference Wednesday, doctors supporting the bill said they’re seeing more and more patients but have fewer doctors to meet the need.

“I’m the managing partner of one of the largest radiology groups in central Alabama,” said Dr. Mark LeQuire with the Alabama Medical Association. “The last time I was fully staffed was December of 2021. I’m down six physicians. I’ve tried furiously over the past three months to try to fill that. I interviewed six people. We got one. The physician workforce is vanishing.”

Both the House and Senate versions of this bill passed unanimously in committee Wednesday.