WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) recently re-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.
“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 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 the doctors from being mistreated.
Currently, doctors from other countries working in America on J-1 visas are required to return to their home country after their residency has ended for two years before they can apply for another visa or green card. The Conrad 30 program allows those doctors to stay in the United States without having to return home if they agree to practice in an underserved area for three years. The “30” refers to the number of doctors per state that can participate in the program.
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.