A bill named S. 616 – Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Act. was introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D-MN], Susan Collins [R-ME], Heidi Heitkamp, [D-ND], and Jerry Moran [R-KS].
The purpose of bill S.616 is to improve the Conrad State 30 program. The Conrad State 30 program (also known as J-1 visa waiver program) is a national initiative aiming at improving medical healthcare access in underserved, mostly rural areas through the United States. With the J-1 Visa Waiver, eligible immigrant physicists that are practicing in those areas are not required to return to their home country at the end of their exchange visa program.
The Conrad State 30 program has brought many physicians to rural and other medically underserved communities since it was introduced in 1994. Foreign-born, American-trained doctors can obtain a J-1 visa waiver if they agree to practice medicine in designated areas for at least three years. In exchange, the physicists can get waived visa restrictions such as the requirement to return home after a certain time. The State 30 program has already helped to bring many qualified foreign doctors to rural communities all over the United States.