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Sen. Conrad Introduces Reauthorization of Namesake Physician Service Program

February 3, 2012—AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., sent a Feb. 1 letter  to Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) supporting the “Conrad State 30 Improvement Act” (S. 1979). The bill, introduced Dec. 12 by Sen. Conrad, would permanently reauthorize the Conrad State 30 J-1 visa waiver program. The measure closely resembles the bill introduced by Sen. Conrad in the 111th Congress [see Washington Highlights, Feb. 29, 2008], with the addition of provisions to protect physicians from potential employment abuse.

The letter notes AAMC’s support for many facets of the bill including the increased annual per state allotments and improved access to green cards for physicians who have completed the Conrad 30 program. This is an important difference from the previous bill, which provided green card cap exemptions. The letter states, “The AAMC supports your proposed reforms for the Conrad 30 program that will help address the program’s current inefficiencies as well as the deficiency of physicians to provide care for our nation’s underserved.”

The letter also cautions that there will continue to be greater incentives for international medical graduates to enter on H-1b visas than on J-1 visas.  The letter reiterates AAMC’s position that “no other immigration program or visa category is as consistent with the aims of U.S. graduate medical education or offers an equal assurance of the quality of entrants [as the J-1 visa].”

The Conrad State 30 program allows physicians on J-1 visas to waive the J-1 requirement to return to their home country for 2 years in exchange for 3 years of practice in an underserved area within the U.S.


Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
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Telephone: 202-903-0806