Senators introduce bill to extend access to physicians in underserved areas

AHA News Now

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) Friday introduced legislation (S. 898) to improve and extend the Conrad State 30 program until 2021. First enacted in 1994, the program allows state health departments to request J-1 visa waivers for up to 30 foreign physicians per year to work in federally designated Health Professions Shortage Areas or Medically Underserved Areas. The Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Act would increase the state allocations to 35 physicians per year and provide flexibility to further expand the number of waivers in states where the demand exceeds the limit, among other improvements. “The latest extension of the Conrad State 30 Program will expire on April 28,” noted AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels in a recent letter of support for the bill. “Without timely reauthorization, many communities that have benefited from these physicians may find themselves without access to such services.” More than 20 million Americans live in areas with a shortage of physicians, the letter notes. 

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: physicians, workforce

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