Conrad 30 Improvements Could Be Game Changing

Conrad 30 Improvements Could Be Game Changing

In its 2016 report, the Association of American Medical Colleges found our nation will face a shortage of between 61,700 and 94,700 physicians by 2025. Given this shocking number, the need for qualified doctors is a subject not to be taken lightly.

In particular, the gap in supply of physicians is increasing in rural communities across the country. Today, approximately one-fifth of the U.S. population resides in these medically under-served areas. And this physician disparity will grow; 20 percent of physicians in rural communities are expected to retire over the next five years, according to a report by the Partnership for a New American Economy. As such, it will become increasingly difficult for rural communities to adequately address their growing healthcare needs.


Various solutions have been proposed to re-mediate the shortage, including the Conrad 30 program. Established in 1994, the program allows international doctors to remain in the U.S. longer than their visas initially allowed under the condition that they practice in under-served areas—such as rural communities—for three years. The “30” refers to the number of doctors per state that can participate in the program. The Conrad 30 program was designed to entice qualified physicians to live and work in under-served areas—and it’s been successful. The American Medical Association reports, “International Medical Graduates constitute more than 23 percent of physicians in the U.S. IMGs play a vital role in U.S. health care, particularly in providing medical care to under-served communities.”


But however successful it has been—the physician shortage persists. While the Conrad 30 program has allowed thousands of immigrant doctors to make vitally important contributions to America’s rural counties across the country, improvements could be made. And that’s exactly what Senators Amy Klobuchar, Jerry Moran, Susan Collins, and Heidi Heitkamp intend to do. The Senators have proposed legislation which would make the Conrad 30 program permanent; allow for the program to be expanded beyond 30 slots if certain thresholds are met; allow state departments of health to grant additional slots to physicians employed with academic medical centers; and better align visa terms with residency training and physician practice.


Jordan Search Consultants wholeheartedly supports this legislation. By implementing these program changes, we can ensure adequate access to healthcare for future generations. Without the reforms, the U.S. could lose thousands of qualified physicians—physicians we have trained. Perhaps more importantly, without these reforms, the health of populations in rural communities throughout the U.S. will suffer.


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