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SHM Supports Conrad State 30 Reauthorization, Which Would Extend Access to Physicians in Underserved Areas


June 10, 2019

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SHM supports legislation that affects hospital medicine and general healthcare, advocating for hospitalists and the patients they serve.

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Dear Senator Klobuchar, Senator Collins, and Senator Rosen,

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 (S. 948), which would reauthorize the Conrad 30 Program until September 30, 2021. Many highly trained hospitalists are immigrants who are crucial to the healthcare system, particularly in rural and underserved communities. Renewing the Conrad 30 Program will help ensure these communities have the providers, 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. Additionally, this bill creates stronger employment protections for participating physicians. 

Physicians in the Conrad 30 Program are essential to the operation of the nation’s hospitals and the healthcare system. 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 administer quality care to patients in underserved areas, and the Conrad 30 programs allows for the retention of these crucial providers. Since the initial authorization of this program in 1995, upwards of 15,000 physicians have been able to stay in the United States to care for patients in underserved areas. 

Reauthorizing the Conrad 30 program continues to help alleviate the physician shortage and ensures patients in underserved areas have access to quality healthcare providers. SHM is pleased to offer our assistance and support for the passage of this legislation. 

Sincerely, 

Christopher Frost, MD, SFHM
President, Society of Hospital Medicine

1   Association of American Medical Colleges. The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections from 2016 to 2030: 2018 Update. https://news.aamc.org/press- releases/article/workforce_report_shortage_04112018/