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246-562-010  <<  246-562-020 >>   246-562-040

PDFWAC 246-562-020

Authority to sponsor visa waivers.

(1) The department may assist communities to recruit and retain physicians, or other health care professionals, as directed in chapter 70.185 RCW, by exercising an option provided in federal law. This option allows the department to sponsor a limited number of visa waivers each federal fiscal year if certain conditions are met.
(2) The department may acknowledge and support as needed sponsorship proposed by federal agencies, including the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
(3) The department may carry out a visa waiver program, or, in the event of resource limitations or other considerations, may discontinue the program. Purposes of the program are:
(a) To increase the availability of physician services in existing federally designated health professional shortage areas (HPSA) for applicants that have long standing vacancies;
(b) To improve access to physician services for communities and specific underserved populations that are having difficulty finding physician services;
(c) To serve Washington communities that have identified a physician currently holding a J-1 visa as an ideal candidate to meet the community's need for health care services.
(4) The department may only sponsor a visa waiver request when:
(a) The application contains all of the required information and documentation;
(b) The application meets the criteria contained in this chapter;
(c) For applicants that have benefited from department sponsorship previously, the applicant's history of compliance will be a consideration in future sponsorship decisions.
(5) Prior to submission of an application, the department may provide information on preparing a complete application.
(6) In any single federal fiscal year the department will limit the number of sponsorships granted to each applicant. Applicants, including integrated health care systems, in a single HPSA:
(a) Will not be allotted more than two sponsorships per practice location;
(b) Will not be allotted more than one hospitalist sponsorship per hospital;
(c) Will not be allotted more than three sponsorships total across all practice locations in the HPSA between October 1st and May 31st of the federal fiscal year.
(7) Applicants located outside designated HPSAs will be allotted no more than three sponsorships across all practice locations in a single county.
(8) Between October 1st and March 31st of the federal fiscal year the department will grant not more than ten specialist waivers. Any waiver sponsorships that remain unfilled on April 1st of each federal fiscal year will be available to both primary care and specialist physicians consistent with the provisions of this chapter.
(9) Starting January 15th of each federal fiscal year, the department will consider applications for physicians intending to practice in areas without a HPSA designation for applicants that meet the criteria in WAC 246-562-075.
(10) Starting June 1st of each federal fiscal year, the department will consider applications for additional sponsorships from applicants who have already received their maximum three waivers in a single HPSA.
Type of sponsorship
Application timeline
and conditions
Primary care in HPSA
Available starting Oct. 1 until state reaches annual federal cap
Specialist in HPSA
Limited to 10 sponsorships from Oct. 1 - March 31, no restriction starting April 1 until state reaches annual federal cap
Nondesignated area (FLEX waiver)
Available starting Jan. 15, limited to 10 total in a federal fiscal year
More than 3 waivers for a single applicant in a single HPSA
Available starting June 1 until state reaches annual federal cap
[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.185.040 and P.L. 110-362. WSR 16-17-060, § 246-562-020, filed 8/12/16, effective 10/1/16. Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.185 RCW and Public Law 108-441. WSR 06-07-035, § 246-562-020, filed 3/8/06, effective 4/8/06. Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.185 RCW. WSR 03-19-054, § 246-562-020, filed 9/11/03, effective 10/12/03; WSR 00-15-082, § 246-562-020, filed 7/19/00, effective 8/19/00; WSR 98-20-067, § 246-562-020, filed 10/2/98, effective 11/2/98.]
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