Senators Amy Klobuchar, Susan Collins, Jacky Rosen, and Thom Tillis have reintroduced bipartisan legislation aimed at building the healthcare workforce in rural and medically underserved areas. The bill, known as the “Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Act,” would expand the Conrad 30 program, which allows foreign doctors to stay in the US for up to three years after completing their medical residency in exchange for working in underserved areas.
The Conrad 30 program has been in place since 1994 and has been successful in addressing healthcare workforce shortages in underserved areas. The proposed legislation would increase the number of slots available in the program from 30 to 35 per state, as well as create new slots for mental health providers and physical therapists.
Additionally, the bill would make changes to the J-1 visa waiver program, which allows foreign medical graduates to stay in the US and work in underserved areas. The bill would streamline the waiver process, making it easier for foreign medical graduates to participate in the program.
The legislation has received support from a range of healthcare organizations, including the American Medical Association, the National Rural Health Association, and the Association of American Medical Colleges. These groups recognize the importance of building the healthcare workforce in underserved areas and believe that the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Act would help address this critical need.
Overall, the reintroduction of the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Act is an important step in building the healthcare workforce in rural and medically underserved areas. By expanding the Conrad 30 program and streamlining the J-1 visa waiver process, the bill would help ensure that patients in these areas have access to the healthcare services they need.