Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

HHS Takes over Visa Waiver for Underserved Areas. (International Medical Graduates)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

HHS Takes over Visa Waiver for Underserved Areas. (International Medical Graduates)

Article excerpt

Physician groups say they are pleased that the Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to take over the visa waiver process for international medical graduates who want to stay in the United States and work in underserved areas.

But at least one group says the United States should work harder on recruiting its own citizens to serve in these locations.

"In the shortfall, extending the J-1 visas will provide some relief to communities that don't have physician care at all," said Dr. James C. Martin, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "But our concern is that our own country ought to be responsible for developing its own physician workforce."

The problem with the international medical graduates (IMGs) began last spring. IMCs who are accepted in U.S. residency training programs obtain a J-1 visa, which usually expires when residency training is finished. IMGs who wanted to stay in the United States and were willing to spend several years working in a medically underserved area could apply to the Department of Agriculture for a visa waiver. The USDA screened the application, which was sent on to the Department of State with a recommendation.

On March 1, 2002, the USDA announced that it would no longer be doing the screening because, in the wake of Sept. 11, it "had no specific authority to conduct adequate background checks on applicants or on-site compliance reviews of the physicians and their employers."

IMGs who wanted a visa waiver did have the option of applying through the Conrad program, the brainchild of Sen. Kurt Conrad (D-N.D.), which allowed states to serve as initial screeners. But not all states participated in the program, and there was a limit of 20 applications that a state would be allowed to process each year.

Texas was one state that was not participating in the Conrad program. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.