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Capitol Health Call
December 8, 2004

No Draft for Physicians

JAMA. 2004;292(22):2714. doi:10.1001/jama.292.22.2714-c

The Selective Service has updated its contingency plans for drafting health care personnel in a crisis, but the Department of Defense, in news reports, said no such conscription is foreseen.

In 1987, Congress passed a law requiring the Selective Service to develop a draft plan for health care professionals essential to the armed forces. Called the Health Care Personnel Delivery System, it is designed to be implemented only in cases of emergency needing national mobilization. To occur, the Congress must pass and the President must sign legislation to enact it. According to reports published in October, the plan calls for around 3.4 million health care workers between the ages of 18 and 44 years to register with the Selective Service. From this pool, around 36 000 medical personnel in 62 health care specialties could be drafted.

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