Members of Congress this week urged House and Senate leaders to include in the upcoming omnibus appropriations package AHA-supported legislation to extend for three years the Conrad State 30 program, which allows states to request J-1 visa waivers for foreign-born physicians who have completed a U.S. residency training program to work in federally designated shortage and underserved areas. The bipartisan legislation (H.R.3541/S.1810) also would increase state allocations under the program to 35 physicians per year, and provide flexibility to expand the number of waivers in states where demand exceeds that limit.
“Despite the success of the program, Congress has not been able to pass a bill reauthorizing the program for more than six years,” wrote Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, who sponsored the legislation with Reps. Bradley Schneider, D-Ill., and Don Bacon, R-Neb. “For years, the authorization for the program has been extended annually through the appropriations process. Without a long-term reauthorization, doctors and hospitals have been repeatedly left in limbo, uncertain whether this vital program will continue.”