Louisiana Conrad State 30 (J-1 visa waiver) Program

About the Louisiana Conrad State 30 (J-1 visa waiver) Program
The purpose of the Louisiana Conrad State 30 (J-1 Visa Waiver) Program is to recruit needed primary care and specialty physicians, both allopathic and osteopathic, into federally-designated health professional shortage areas (HPSAs). Physicians should apply to the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) for a predetermination of eligibility and also a letter of support for the placement of a J-1 visa waiver. LDH will support the physician's request for a waiver through the Louisiana Conrad State 30 program, once all of the following criteria are met.

The Louisiana Conrad State 30 program is a federal and state program that assists in the expansion of health care services for the underserved populations of Louisiana. It is a policy of the LDH Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health to ensure that all health care providers eligible to participate in the program have an established and utilized sliding-fee scale policy for accepting all patients regardless of their ability to pay.  All clinics must have an active policy in place for a minimum of 90 days before applications will be approved. Active is described as a written policy that is posted and in place (reviewed and accepted by LDH). The signage must have been posted in a conspicuous place in the clinic's waiting room that specifies that all patients will be seen regardless of their ability to pay; and front office staff must have been trained on how to use the sliding-fee scale to discount services during and after the 90 days waiting period, LDH staff will conduct unannounced site visits to verify compliance with all program guidelines.

NOTE: Clinics that are mandated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to have a sliding-fee scale policy are exempt from the 90 days requirement. 

Criteria for Department of State Waiver Requests and/or LDH Support Letters:
Primary care shall include pediatrics, ob/gyn, general internal medicine, family practice, general practice and psychiatry. From October 1st through March 31st, 80 percent of the 30 slots will be reserved for primary care physicians and 20 percent for specialists (6 slots). If there are still slots remaining as of April 1st, completed eligible waiver applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Physicians must have completed a United States residency in primary care (or their specialty) and provide a copy of their current Louisiana medical license issued by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.

Primary care physicians must practice outpatient preventive and primary care medicine. Specialists must practice as appropriate to their area of specialty. Physicians must work a minimum of 32 clinical hours of a scheduled 40 hour week and have a contract for a minimum of three (3) years with an employer/medical facility. Physicians must submit the following to LDH:

  • A copy of the three (3) year contract specifying the above;
  • The total hours to be worked;
  • All the addresses of the locations where the physician will be working;
  • All the hours per day worked at each location (if more than one); and
  • A signed "Criteria For J-1 Visa Waiver Support by the State of Louisiana" form.

The practice must be comprised of at least 30% patients who depend on Medicaid or Medicare and uninsured patients. The employer must have signage posted in the lobby offering a sliding-fee scale, or some type of Indigent care policy for uninsured people whose income falls at or below 200% of poverty. The signage notifying patients that the employer has a sliding-fee scale should also include that all patients will be seen regardless of their ability to pay.

Physicians must practice in a federally-designated health professional shortage area (HPSA), with the exception of up to 10 slots per year, where the physician would still serve a HPSA population. At least 30% of the practice's patient base must be living in a federally-designated HPSA to qualify for one of these slots. For purposes of the J-1 visa waiver, the areas that qualify are federally-designated HPSAs, as defined by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The employer must provide adequate advertisements and recruitment documentation from at least the prior six-month period, prior to submitting the Louisiana Conrad State 30 application packet to establish that the J-1 visa physician will not be displacing a U.S. physician.

The physician must submit quarterly reports, which indicate for each practice site, the number of hours worked per quarter  and the number of Medicaid, Medicare, and sliding-fee scale uninsured patients that were treated per quarter.

For more information, contact:

Dorie Tschudy, Primary Care Officer
Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health

Louisiana Department of Health Office of Public Health
Physical Address:  628 North 4th Street, 8th Floor, Baton Rouge, LA  7080
Mailing Address:    P.O. Box 3118, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3118
Phone:  (225) 342-1583
Fax:      (225) 342-5839

E-mail:  Dorie.Tschudy@la.gov