Important Information

Massachusetts Conrad-30 / J1  Visa Waiver Program

 

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (The Department) through the Conrad-30/J-1 Visa Waiver Program, supports employment requests for J-1 visa physicians in sites that have a history of serving the state’s medically underserved populations. The Massachusetts J-1 Visa Waiver Program is implemented in accordance with its authority under the "Conrad Amendment" to P.L. 103-416, to assist physician recruitment by supporting J-1 visa waiver requests from health care facilities located in federally designated underserved areas.

The Massachusetts J-1 Visa Waiver Program is administered by the Health Care Workforce Center.

Application Deadlines

  • October 1 – December 31      Applications are accepted October 1 – December 31

Note that for 2015-2016 Visa Waiver Year applications will be accepted through January 2016

  • March 1          Notification of Department support status is sent by or before March 1.  

If slots remain available a 2nd review will be held in March. *In future years Flex applications will typically be considered in March if there are slots available. Flex applications received from areas that meet certain state needs will be considered on a case by case basis.

  • April                Any final visa waiver support notification will be made in April.

Priority Designations

    • Priority Physicians - Primary care providers continue to be a priority for Massachusetts, although applications for both primary care and specialist positions are accepted. Primary Care is interpreted to include internal medicine, pediatrics, family practice, obstetrics-gynecology, geriatrics, and psychiatry
    • Specialty physician applications must have documentation of the wait times for specialty care along with other noted data shortages. The program policy document provides application detail
    • Priority Sites - Community Health Centers and hospitals with federally qualifying disproportionate share percentages or other measure of high utilization by underserved populations receive priority
    • Priority Geographic Locations – Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) – locations where the PCP to population ratio is 1:3500 or greater, such as western and central portions of the Massachusetts – remains a priority workforce need for the Commonwealth

Additional Information

  • Other program highlights follow. Please refer to the policy document for details.

Specialist physician applications must include data on wait time for non-emergency patient visits, documentation of the physician shortage for this specialty fellowship in the community. See the policy document for additional notes on required data

Specialist and Flex applications should describe how the served population will benefit by placing that physician

Flex Applications* – The Conrad legislation authorizes up to ten (10) Flex slots to place physicians in practice sites not located in a federal shortage area if they provide documentation that greater than 30% of the patients served by the site are located in federal shortage areas, poverty levels, disparate health outcomes, or note of significant immigrant or elderly populations or substance abuse data.

*In future years Flex applications will typically be considered in March if there are slots available. Flex applications received from areas that meet certain state needs will be considered on a case by case basis.

  • A payor mix breakdown must be included in the application. The payor mix indicates both the agency payor mix breakdown and that of the physician who is or will be practicing at the site.

An application review form which will be used to guide review of Massachusetts Conrad-30 / J1 Visa Waiver applications will be posted in the coming month.

Reference the policy document for full details about the program (see clickable icons below).

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J-1 Visa Waiver Policies  pdf format of J-1 Visa Waiver Policies
docx format of                             J-1 Visa Waiver Policies

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J-1 Visa Waiver Program-Overview

Federal law (Conrad Amendment to P.L. 103-416) provides MDPH with the authority to assist Massachusetts health care facilities located in federally designated shortage areas with physician recruitment by supporting J-1 visa waiver requests.  A visa waiver exempts a physician from the foreign residency rule that requires them to return home for two years after training.   MDPH supports up to thirty J-1 Visa Waiver requests per federal fiscal year (October 1-September 30).  Applications are reviewed with special attention to primary care services, identified areas of greatest need, language skills appropriate to the community, and providing a service in the public interest in the Commonwealth.  Requests are accepted from employing health care facilities located in a federal Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area/ Population (MUA/MUP).

The physician must agree to practice medicine full-time in the health care facility for a minimum of three (3) years and begin employment within ninety (90) days of receipt of their waiver. Priority is for primary care physicians including internal medicine, pediatrics, family practice, obstetrics-gynecology or psychiatry.

Applications are accepted beginning on October 1st of each year. Applications are processed at MDPH and forwarded to the Department of State (DOS).  Physicians can submit multiple applicants from different states however the DOS will process only the first application per physician.

The Primary Care Office manages the J-1 Visa Waiver Program for Massachusetts.  For a detailed description of the Massachusetts program and the application process, click on the icons above re: j-1-visa-waiver policies. 

For answers to specific questions about J-1 Visa Waiver Program email: J1@dph.state.ma.us or call 617-624-6051.

Rev.12/2015

This information is provided by the Primary Care Office within the Department of Public Health.

Massachusetts Health Care Workforce Center