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Ernst Addresses Iowa Doctor Shortage

DES MOINES – Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) today announced her solution to expand opportunities to recruit doctors to Iowa and address the rural physician staffing shortage during a roundtable at Broadlawns Medical Center.

Under the existing Conrad 30 program, each state is given 30 waiver slots to allow nondomestic physicians who attended medical school in the U.S. to remain here on a three-year visa in exchange for their commitment to work in a health professional shortage area. Iowa historically uses the maximum 30 slots each year and would see a significant benefit for both patients and burnt-out providers by supporting an increase to the availability of specialty providers in rural communities. Ernst’s Directing Our Country’s Transfer of Residency Slots (DOCTORS) Act reallocates unused waiver slots to states that used all thirty waivers in the previous year to increase access to health care for rural Iowans.



Click here or the image above to view photos from the event.

“I’m working to ensure all Iowans, particularly those in our most rural communities, have access to high-quality health care,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “My DOCTORS Act expands opportunities to recruit doctors by developing a pipeline for more specialty providers to practice in our state. These physicians will provide critical medical services in rural areas currently suffering from staffing shortages, so Iowans can receive the care they deserve.”

“Maintaining a sustainable pipeline of physicians to serve the increasing medical needs of Iowans is paramount. Broadlawns Medical Center is grateful for the support of Senator Ernst in reauthorizing the DOCTORS Act to ensure this occurs,” said Dr. Anthony Coleman, DHA at Broadlawns Medical Center.

“UnityPoint Health appreciates Senator Ernst’s continued work on addressing critical physician shortages here in Iowa. This legislation will help ensure Iowans continue to have access to high quality health care in their community,” said Patricia Newland, M.D., President of UnityPoint Clinic.