Critical program helps address physician shortages by allowing doctors to stay in the United States in exchange for practicing in underserved areas, such as rural communities
Washington, D.C. - Following an effort from U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today will resume premium processing for all H-1B petitions filed for medical doctors under the Conrad 30 Waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers. The Conrad 30 program helps address physician shortages by allowing doctors to stay in the United States in exchange for practicing in underserved areas, such as rural communities. In March, the Senators called on USCIS to address its administrative needs without sacrificing support for this successful time-tested program.
“I am pleased that the administration listened to our concerns and will resume premium processing of these visas, providing opportunities for American-trained and educated physicians to remain in the country and practice where there is an unmet need for quality care,” Senator Collins said. “This important program expands access to health care in our rural or underserved communities, which in turn promotes healthier lives.”
“Today’s announcement is welcome news to the rural communities that are experiencing an extreme shortage of physicians,” Senator Klobuchar said. “The Conrad 30 program is a practical solution to shortages across rural America, bringing more than 15,000 physicians to underserved areas over the last 15 years. It’s time for this program to be made permanent by passing our bipartisan bill.”
“Families in rural America deserve access to the best doctors in the world. That’s the entire purpose of the Conrad 30 program which has helped doctors from other countries who have been trained at our top notch universities and medical schools to stay here and serve those in rural areas and in other communities that struggle to recruit and retain an adequate physician workforce,” Senator Heitkamp said. “We need to enable more doctors to use this program to practice in rural areas and work to make this program permanent to help support quality care in rural areas.”
In April, Collins, Klobuchar, and Heitkamp introduced bipartisan legislation to boost the number of doctors able to work in rural America. The Conrad State 30 & Physician Access Act would allow international doctors to remain in the U.S. upon completing their residency under the condition that they practice in underserved areas, such as rural communities.