Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) May 8 introduced legislation (S.1189) to expand the State Conrad 30 J-1 visa waiver programs, which recruit foreign physicians to underserved communities.
The measure is similar to the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Act introduced by the same co-sponsors in the 113th Congress and supported by the AAMC, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospitals Association.
In a press statement, the Senators recognized the “serious shortage of physicians” across the country and hailed academic medicine in the United States as “the best universities, and the best medical training in the world.”
Among other changes, the bill would:
- Make the Conrad 30 program permanent
- Allow for the program to be expanded beyond 30 slots if certain thresholds are met, while still protecting small states;
- Create new Conrad 30 slots per state dedicated for academic medical centers;
- Better align visa terms with residency training and physician practice.
The legislation was included as an amendment in the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013.