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Legislators have reintroduced a plan to allow more international doctors nominated to attend residency in the United States and remain in the country after their training if they agree to work in disadvantaged areas.
The legislation was reworked Thursday and will increase the number of slots in the CONRAD 30 program. Senator Amy Klobuchar (Democrat of Minnesota) introduced the bill for the first time in 2019 with bipartisan support, but failed to pass it by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Minor changes were made to the bill to garner a broader coalition of supporters, including a re-delegation of the Conrad 30 program for three years after the enactment of laws, language that clarifies hospital malpractice concerns, and a mandate directing Citizenship and Immigration Services and HHS to retain them. Track how countries use the J-1 visa program.
Both the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association support the bill, but it is unclear whether legislation efforts to increase the number of jobs available for residency graduates to work in the country will effectively address the workforce shortage in rural communities.
According to one study in The Journal of Primary Care and Community Health, More than 40% of Delaware healthcare professionals who work in a healthcare professional shortage area were hired by the Conrad 30 waiver.
The bill comes as part of a push by lawmakers to bring more doctors to rural and underprivileged areas that are in short supply. Each country implements the program differently based on the resources of the individual medical facilities. But under the new law, every state will Increase the hatch cover 30 On assignment to 35, if 90% of the total concessions available to the country are used. Some experts say this is unlikely to happen.
Report from Rural Health Research Center From 2000 through 2010, states used, on average, 15 to 19 of the 30 waivers assigned to them. Half of the waivers used in 2010 went to doctors working in rural areas, but that number fluctuated throughout the decade. In previous years, the exemptions used to go to medical practitioners in urban and deprived communities in rural areas. More recent data on this distribution is not publicly available.
In 2019, only 25 states filled all 30 of their exemption periods, The highest use in the last 20 years. States with large urban populations such as New York and Michigan consumed every time period over that time period, while states with smaller urban populations such as Wyoming and Idaho struggled to fill 15%.
“The truth is, a lot of countries have never used all of the waivers available to them,” said Davis Patterson, director of the Center for Rural Health Research. “There is a concern that if you increase the cap [for the waiver] The big countries will absorb the applicants and lead to a greater misallocation. ”
Patterson also said that the amount of oversight provided for each waiver program varies depending on state resources, leaving workers dependent on their employer to remain in the country vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
The bill provides some reforms to these concerns, including a mechanism to increase slots only as usage rates reach 90%, prevent better-resourced countries from receiving applicants from smaller countries, and add protections for workers to prevent abuse.
“By expanding access to health care in our rural and disadvantaged communities, the bipartisan bill will promote healthier lives and ensure families across the country have access to the health care they deserve,” Senator Susan Collins (R from Maine) said in a statement.
It is unclear whether the bill will effectively bring more doctors to rural areas specifically.
In the Senate Health, Education, Work, and Pensions Committee on Thursday Hear lawmakers express their support for providing incentives for healthcare workers wishing to work in rural facilities, even considering a Loan repayment program For graduates of GME Medicare Khans.
a Report from AAMC It appears that the United States will have a shortage of 139,000 doctors by 2033. Rural areas are particularly vulnerable. Just 11% of physicians work in rural facilities, while 20% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas. None of these statistics took into account the exodus of doctors from the workforce after the COVID-19 pandemic.
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