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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Supports Bill to Expand and Improve Conrad 30 Physician Immigration

    Matthew Shick, Sr. Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs

    AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., July 28 sent a letter  to the sponsors of the “Conrad 30 and Physician Access Act” (S. 1189), with AAMC’s endorsement of the bill to improve and make permanent the State Conrad 30 J-1 visa waiver program [see Washington Highlights, May 8].

    Dr. Kirch highlights the success of the program, “In the last decade alone, the Conrad 30 program has directed nearly 10,000 physicians into health professions shortage areas (HPSAs),” but notes that there are “more than 59 million people living in primary care HPSAs and it would take over 8,100 new primary care physicians to fill these deficits.”

    Specific to the legislation, Dr. Kirch states, “Importantly, S. 1189 would provide up to three J-1 visa waivers per fiscal year per state for physicians in academic medical centers. Our nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals train all J-1 visa physicians, but are often prohibited from recruiting these physicians.”

    The letter also cautions that “the primary barrier for graduates of international medical schools to practicing in the U.S. is the cap on Medicare support for GME imposed by the Balance Budget Act of 1997,” and, “Eliminating this bottleneck in the medical education pipeline is critical to improving physician immigration and addressing national workforce shortages.”