May 09, 2024

Capitol Hill Event Commemorates Conrad 30 Program Success in Placing Physicians in Rural, Underserved Areas

Lawmakers held a congressional briefing May 8 to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Conrad 30 program. The event marked the overwhelming success of the program, which facilitated the placement of approximately 20,000 physicians in rural and underserved areas since its establishment in 1994. Representatives of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) and numerous other medical associations and stakeholders attended to recognize and show their support for the program.

The Conrad 30 waiver program incentivizes international medical graduates (IMG) who complete their residency in the United States to practice in rural and underserved areas that struggle to recruit and retain physicians. Currently, resident physicians from other countries training in the U.S. on J-1 visas are required to return to their home country for two years after their residency has ended before they can apply for a work visa or green card. The Conrad 30 program allows 30 qualified residents per state to remain in the U.S. without having to return home for two years if they agree to practice in a medically underserved area for three years.

Despite the success of the Conrad 30 program, there is a well-documented growing shortage of physicians nationwide, across all specialties and this is an opportunity for reform. ACR-supported legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate — the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4942/ S. 665) — that would reauthorize and expand the Conrad 30 J-1 visa waiver program by allowing the program to expand beyond 30 waivers (up to 45) if certain nationwide thresholds are met.

The briefing highlighted the Conrad 30 program from various perspectives, including a physician who has participated in the program, an expert who files waivers and works with employers on recruitment and retention strategies, and an academic medical center. The lead original cosponsor of S. 665, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), a cosponsor of H.R. 4942, gave remarks during the program.

ACR will continue to advocate for solutions to address the growing physician shortage, including the Conrad 30 and Physician Access Authorization Act.

If you have question or would like additional information, contact Ashley Walton, ACR Government Affairs Director.