Advocacy Brief: Congress Approves Conrad Visa Waiver Program Extension
The House and Senate recently approved legislation to extend the Conrad 30 State J-1 visa waiver program through March 6, 2009. The bill also includes a provision that doubles to 10 the program's "flex-slots," the number of physicians per state who may serve in facilities, often teaching hospitals, that are located outside medically underserved areas but that treat patients from those areas.
The State Conrad 30 program allows state departments of health to request waivers of the J-1 visa home country service requirement for up to 30 foreign physicians per year to work in federally designated health professions shortage or medically underserved areas. The House originally passed the bill in May with a 5-year authorization to 2013, but the Senate shortened the extension to 6 months by amendment and the House concurred with that change.
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) had proposed more extensive reforms in a bill S. 2672 introduced Feb. 27 which the College endorsed.
ACP recently released a position paper on the contributions of international medical graduates and the need to support their role in the U.S. health care system.
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