The AAMC March 29 endorsed a bill to reauthorize and expand the Conrad 30 J-1 visa waiver program and signed an April 4 higher education community letter endorsing the latest iteration of the Dream Act. Both endorsements build on AAMC support for the legislation in previous Congresses.
The Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Act (S.948) was introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.). As in previous years [see Washington Highlights, April 21, 2017], the bill 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 Medical Association, the American Hospital 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.”
The Dream Act of 2019 (S. 874) was introduced March 26 by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). The bill would establish an eight-year conditional permanent residency status followed by a pathway to permanent residency for undocumented medical students, among others. The higher education community letter, led by the American Council on Education lauds, “We are pleased that Senator Graham and Senator Durbin have reintroduced this important legislation in a bipartisan manner and we urge the Senate to pass it as soon as possible.”
In the 115th Congress, the AAMC led a health professions letter in support of the Dream Act [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 15, 2017]. In the 116th Congress, the AAMC also joined higher education organizations on a March 20 letter to House leadership in support of the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6), which notably would provide students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status access to federal financial aid [see Washington Highlights, March 5].