Representatives Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), and Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) May 23 introduced the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Act (H.R. 2141), which would reauthorize and expand the Conrad 30 J-1 visa waiver program. Corresponding legislation was introduced in the Senate earlier this year by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) [see Washington Highlights, April 5].
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; and
- Establish new employment protections and a streamlined pathway to a green card for participants.
A press release accompanying the bill noted endorsements from the American Hospital Association, the National Rural Health Association, and the AAMC. “As the United States faces an unprecedented shortage of up to 121,000 physicians by 2030, Conrad 30 has been a highly successful program for underserved communities to recruit both primary care and specialty physicians after they complete their medical residency training,” said the AAMC. “We applaud this bipartisan reauthorization for recognizing immigrating physicians as a critical element of our nation’s health care infrastructure, and we support the expansion of Conrad 30 to help overcome hurdles that have stymied growth of the physician workforce.”