Rep. Jerry Moran, R-KS, has praised the White House for its decision to process all 86 pending J-1 Visa Waiver applications.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will serve as a temporary interested government agency, in order to process the pending doctors applications.
"We don't see victories often enough in rural America, but this announcement to process these physician's applications is a victory for Kansas and for rural health care," Moran said. "We have worked hard to reverse the USDA's decision, so that these 86 communities won't go without a doctor."
The J-1 Visa program gives international medical graduates the opportunity to stay in the U.S., if they agree to practice in a medically underserved area. Since the USDA became a participant in the J-1 Visa waiver program in 1994, it has made a total of 80 recommendations on behalf of doctors applying to serve in Kansas.
In late February, the USDA discontinued the J-1 Visa Waiver program, citing security concerns. Now, the USDA said that pending applications will be reviewed by the Departments of Justice and State, and that the Department of Health and Human Services will do follow-up monitoring. In addition, the White House will coordinate agency efforts on meeting the health care needs of rural communities.
In March, Moran, co-chair of the Rural Health Care Coalition, urged the Administration to continue the program and process pending applications. Since that time Moran has met with the government agencies involved and worked with the White House to find solution to continue this important program.
"The White House has heard the pleas of rural American and reacted promptly," Moran said. "Its willingness to help rural America is encouraging and we will continue to work with it throughout this process."