PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
[Filed March 3, 1998, 4:52 p.m.]
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Department of Health acting as sponsor for physician visa waivers. This is an optional activity under federal law that allows certain foreign trained physicians to remain in the United States, subject to a full-time employment contract in an area of high need.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 70.185.020 directs the department to "establish a health professional recruitment and retention clearinghouse," and to carry out activities to support and enhance recruitment.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: In response to Executive Order 97-02, we examined all areas of activity that might confer privilege. Since the action that the federal law allows the state to carry out is limited to 20 sponsorships a year, and since the state has an interest in targeting this action to the areas of highest need, we determined a need to create rule. This will allow the state to choose among applicants for sponsorship.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: Three federal agencies are also involved in this sponsorship activity: The United States Department of Agriculture, the Department of State through United States Information Agency, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. Federal rule has been adopted that we can use to create a program that meets the requirements for the federal agency to act on behalf of a Washington state shortage area community that wishes to hire a foreign trained physician.
Process for Developing New Rule: Public meetings and mailings to stakeholders.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Verne A. Gibbs, Director, or Callie Wilson, Staff, Department of Health, Office of Community and Rural Health, P.O. Box 47834, Olympia, WA 98504-7834, FAX (360) 664-9273, phone (360) 705-6770. We will draft rule based on input from public meetings we have conducted to solicit input. We will circulate this draft to the Washington State Medical Association and the Washington State Osteopathic Association. We will also circulate to both rural hospitals and community clinics in federally designated areas that might wish to use the program, as well as all existing program participants, including private clinics and currently practicing physicians who have participated in the program.
March 3, 1998