March 14, 2023
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced bipartisan legislation to build the healthcare workforce in rural and medically underserved areas. The Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act would allow international doctors to remain in the U.S. upon completing their residency under the condition that they practice in areas experiencing doctor shortages.
The Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act extends the Conrad 30 program for three years, improves the process for obtaining a visa, and allows for the program to be expanded beyond 30 slots if certain thresholds are met. The bill also provides worker protections to prevent doctors from being mistreated. A version of the bill was included as an amendment to the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013.
“The Conrad 30 program allows international physicians who were educated in the United States to remain in our country and practice where there is an unmet need for quality care,” Senator Collins said. “This bipartisan reauthorization legislation would further expand access to health care in our rural or underserved communities, which in turn promotes healthier lives.”
“It doesn’t matter whether you live in Portland or Porter, location should not prevent you from receiving quality, affordable healthcare,” said Senator King. “As Maine’s rural areas experience a healthcare worker shortage, the bipartisan Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act would encourage more world-class medical professionals to come work in small towns across our state. The Conrad 30 program has a proven track record of success, and I’m grateful for the leadership of Senator Collins and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who are supporting this commonsense bill.”
“As we work to address medical workforce shortages, it’s critical that we make sure talented doctors trained and educated here in the U.S. can remain in our country,” said Senator Klobuchar. “The Conrad 30 program has brought nearly 20,000 physicians to underserved areas, filling a critical need for quality health care in our rural communities. Our bipartisan bill to reauthorize this program would encourage doctors to use their talents and training in underserved communities, improving health care for families across the nation and boosting our rural medical workforce.”
“Far too many communities in Nevada lack access to medical care, an issue that is especially dire in our rural and underserved areas. In fact, every county in Nevada is experiencing a shortage of medical professionals,” said Senator Rosen. “This bipartisan legislation will help to address the physician shortage by allowing international doctors to stay and work in the U.S. following their residencies, helping to increase the number of doctors available to provide care.”
“Too many rural areas in North Carolina and across the country lack the health care workforce needed to provide quality and timely care,” said Senator Tillis. “This bipartisan legislation will allow American-trained doctors to help fill those gaps so we can expand access to critical health care in medically underserved and health professional shortage areas.”
The legislation is endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, the National Rural Health Association, the Niskanen Center, the American Academy of Neurology, and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans.
In addition to Senators Collins, Klobuchar, Rosen, Tillis, and King, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators John Thune (R-SD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Chris Coons (D-DE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Tina Smith (D-MN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and John Boozman (R-AR).