As governmental and commercial insurance reimbursements continue to decline, physicians are increasingly seeking out new revenue streams. One such source of new revenue for some practices is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (“USCIS”) civil surgeon program.

In response to a recent question from an internal medicine practice, I would like to take some time to provide a brief overview of the civil surgeon program, the process for qualifying to become a civil surgeon and the responsibilities of a civil surgeon. Finally, we will explore some of the practical aspects of managing a civil surgeon program in your office, including marketing and other practice management concerns.

Overview of the Civil Surgeon Program

Most individuals who are applying to USCIS for an “adjustment of status” are required to obtain a medical examination. This medical examination must be performed by a designated civil surgeon.

“Adjustment of status” refers to the process of applying from within the United States (as opposed to applying from abroad through a consulate) to become a lawful United States permanent resident. To obtain an adjustment of status, an applicant must, among other things, obtain a satisfactory medical examination.

The United States government has indicated that ‘clean bills of health’ will not be recognized unless they are issued by a designated civil surgeon. Therefore, the civil surgeon plays an important role in ensuring that the minimum immigration health requirements of USCIS are enforced.

More to Come

Upcoming blogs will address the civil surgeon qualification process, the responsibilities of a civil surgeon and relevant practice management considerations.

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