On May 27, the AAMC endorsed the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act (S.1810, H.R. 3541), which would extend the authorization of the Conrad 30 program that allows international doctors to remain in the United States upon completing their residencies under the condition that they practice in areas experiencing doctor shortages. The AAMC endorsed similar legislation in the previous four Congresses [refer to Washington Highlights, May 24, 2019, and April 21, 2017].
The bipartisan, bicameral legislation was introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) in the Senate and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) in the House.
The legislation would:
- Allow the program to expand beyond 30 slots if certain nationwide thresholds are met.
- Create three new Conrad 30 slots per state to be used by academic medical centers.
- Allow “dual intent” for J-1 visa physicians seeking graduate medical education.
- Establish new employment protections and a streamlined pathway to a green card for participants.
Upon introduction, Sen. Klobuchar stated, “Over the last 15 years, the Conrad 30 program has brought more than 15,000 physicians to underserved areas, filling a critical need for quality care in our rural communities – a need that was highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Sen. Collins noted, “We must provide opportunities for American-trained and educated physicians to remain in the country and practice in areas where there is an unmet need for quality care. By expanding access to health care in our rural and underserved communities, this bipartisan bill would promote healthier lives and ensure that families across the country receive the health care they deserve.”
“The American medical education system attracts top international talent and produces the best-trained graduates in the world. Extending the Conrad 30 visa waiver program is a commonsense step that both parties can support to help more Americans have access to quality health care practitioners in their communities,” added Rep. Schneider.