Congressman Mike Lawler Introduces Bipartisan Doctors In Our Borders Act

This week, Congressman Lawler (NY-17) introduced the bipartisan Doctors in our Borders Act, bipartisan legislation that will expand the Conrad 30 program, which will tackle physician shortages in medical facilities across the country. Specifically, this bill will allow states to issue 100 waivers, instead of the current 30, to foreign graduates of US medical schools on J-1 visas. This will allow these doctors to stay and practice in the US, instead of returning to their home country, provided that they work in designated underserved areas. The legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Shri Thanedar (MI-13), María Elvira Salazar (FL-27), Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06), Larry Bucshon (IN-08), Ashley Hinson (IA-02), Nick LaLota (NY-01), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), and Brad Schneider (IL-10).

The legislation is supported by the Greater New York Hospital Association, Healthcare Association of New York State, Associated Medical Schools of New York, Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State, Henry Ford Health, LIBRE Initiative, Americans for Prosperity, and FWD.us.

“The Doctors in our Borders Act is a good first step in tackling the shortages many New Yorkers have seen in medical facilities across the state,” said Congressman Lawler. “This legislation would streamline and simplify the visa process for US-educated doctors, ensuring that we retain the remarkable medical talent that come to learn at the top institutions in the world. With a projected shortage of over 120,000 doctors by 2034, it is essential that we act now to stave off disaster and ensure continued access to care.”

“By allowing these bright doctors to work in the United States, we both avoid brain drain and improve quality of care in medical facilities,” concluded Congressman Lawler. “I am hopeful that this bipartisan legislation will pass both the House and Senate and become law expeditiously.”

“GNYHA has long supported Conrad 30 as a tool to ease the pathway for doctors from other countries who seek to practice medicine in the US. Unfortunately, demand for this program is greater than the available slots, thus limiting access to medical services in underserved areas in many states. GNYHA is proud to support Rep. Lawler’s Doctors in our Borders Act of 2023, which expands the Conrad 30 waiver program to allow more doctors from other countries to remain in the US to practice medicine. By increasing each state’s available slots, this bill will help tackle the physician shortage and ensure that more medically underserved communities have access to high-quality health care. GNYHA thanks Rep. Lawler for his commitment to expanding the physician workforce and addressing the critical health needs of the nation,” said Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth E. Raske.

“The Doctors in our Borders Act is an important step toward addressing the nation’s physician shortage. Bolstering our capacity to leverage the J-1 Visa program would provide quick results to the workforce crisis faced by our hospitals and health systems,” said Healthcare Association of New York State President Bea Grause, RN, JD. “We applaud Congressman Lawler for introducing this bipartisan legislation and look forward to continuing our work together to strengthen New York’s healthcare workforce and ensure access to care across New York.”

“The U.S. is facing a concerning workforce shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034. While medical schools are working to address this, we need additional solutions. The Doctors in our Borders Act will expand the J-1 visa waiver program, which is an essential tool for developing and maintaining a physician workforce that is robust and competent to meet the healthcare needs of New Yorkers,” stated Jonathan Teyan, President and CEO of the Associated Medical Schools of New York.

“Nearly 30 years after its inception, the Conrad 30 program continues to change the lives of millions of Americans in rural and underserved communities. Our country is facing a large shortage of trained medical professionals and this bill allows more highly deserving immigrants that are looking to contribute to our exceptional country to do so. We applaud all efforts to find innovative solutions to our countries pressing immigration and health care needs,” expressed Jose Mallea, CEO, The LIBRE Initiative.

“Physicians practicing under the Conrad 30 program have been a lifeline for countless rural Americans. At a time where more Americans are approaching retirement age and our nation’s health care needs are growing, fewer physicians today are choosing to practice in rural areas. It’s time we scale up this successful program and provide greater relief to rural Americans and overworked physicians,” said Sam Peak, Senior Immigration Policy Analyst, Americans for Prosperity.

“International graduates of U.S. medical schools should not be forced to return to their home countries, taking their American higher education, diverse skills, and immense potential with them at a moment when our country’s shortage of healthcare workers is hitting a crisis point,” said FWD.us President, Todd Schulte. “The Doctors in our Borders Act would go a long way in stopping this illogical brain drain by granting Americans in rural and urban communities access to qualified medical professionals ready and eager to care for them.”

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