SHM Supports the Reintroduction of the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act
June 01, 2021
SHM's Policy Efforts
SHM supports legislation that affects hospital medicine and general healthcare, advocating for hospitalists and the patients they serve.
The Society of Hospital Medicine, representing the nation’s hospitalists, is writing to voice our support for the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3541), which would reauthorize the Conrad 30 Program for three years after the date of enactment. Many highly-trained hospitalists are immigrants who are vital to the healthcare system, particularly in rural and underserved communities.
Hospitalists are front-line physicians in America’s acute care hospitals and focus on the general medical care of hospitalized patients. As a result, our members are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic caring for patients each day. COVID-19 has demonstrated the acute need for highly trained physicians, particularly in underserved communities, and we must utilize all tools necessary to expand the healthcare workforce. Renewing the Conrad 30 Program will help ensure these communities have the physicians, including hospitalists, necessary to care for the patients who need them.
Resident physicians residing in the United States on a J-1 visa are required to return to their home country for two years prior to applying for an H1-B visa or a green card. However, the Conrad 30 program allows resident physicians, many of whom were trained in the United States, to remain in the country if they work for a minimum of three years in an underserved area.
Physicians in the Conrad 30 Program are essential to the operation of the nation’s hospitals and the healthcare system. Hospitals in rural and underserved areas often struggle with attracting and retaining physicians and the Conrad 30 program helps address this imbalance. According to a study by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States will face a physician shortage upwards of 120,000 by 2030.1 Resident physicians on J-1 visas deliver quality care to patients in underserved areas, and the Conrad 30 programs enables communities to retain these crucial physicians. Since the initial authorization of this program in 1995, upwards of 15,000 physicians have been able to stay in the United States and continue to serve their patients and communities.
Reauthorizing the Conrad 30 program is an important step to help alleviate the physician shortage and to ensure patients in underserved areas have access to quality healthcare. SHM is pleased to offer our support to secure the passage of this legislation.
Jerome C. Siy, MD, MHA, SFHM
President, Society of Hospital Medicine