U.S Code last checked for updates: Oct 19, 2019
§ 254m.
Obligated service under contract
(a)
Service in full-time clinical practice

Except as provided in section 254n of this title, each individual who has entered into a written contract with the Secretary under section 254l or 254l–1 of this title shall provide service in the full-time clinical practice of such individual’s profession as a member of the Corps for the period of obligated service provided in such contract. The Secretary may treat teaching as clinical practice for up to 20 percent of such period of obligated service. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, with respect to a member of the Corps participating in the teaching health centers graduate medical education program under section 256h of this title, for the purpose of calculating time spent in full-time clinical practice under this section, up to 50 percent of time spent teaching by such member may be counted toward his or her service obligation.

(b)
Notice to individual; information for informed decision; eligibility; notice to Secretary; qualification and appointment as commissioned officer; appointment as civilian member; designation of non-United States employee as member; deferment of obligated service
(1)
If an individual is required under subsection (a) to provide service as specified in section 254l(f)(1)(B)(v) or 254l–1(f)(1)(B)(iv) of this title (hereinafter in this subsection referred to as “obligated service”), the Secretary shall, not later than ninety days before the date described in paragraph (5), determine if the individual shall provide such service—
(A)
as a member of the Corps who is a commissioned officer in the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Service or who is a civilian employee of the United States, or
(B)
as a member of the Corps who is not such an officer or employee,
and shall notify such individual of such determination.
(2)
If the Secretary determines that an individual shall provide obligated service as a member of the Corps who is a commissioned officer in the Service or a civilian employee of the United States, the Secretary shall, not later than sixty days before the date described in paragraph (5), provide such individual with sufficient information regarding the advantages and disadvantages of service as such a commissioned officer or civilian employee to enable the individual to make a decision on an informed basis. To be eligible to provide obligated service as a commissioned officer in the Service, an individual shall notify the Secretary, not later than thirty days before the date described in paragraph (5), of the individual’s desire to provide such service as such an officer. If an individual qualifies for an appointment as such an officer, the Secretary shall, as soon as possible after the date described in paragraph (5), appoint the individual as a commissioned officer of the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Service and shall designate the individual as a member of the Corps.
(3)
If an individual provided notice by the Secretary under paragraph (2) does not qualify for appointment as a commissioned officer in the Service, the Secretary shall, as soon as possible after the date described in paragraph (5), appoint such individual as a civilian employee of the United States and designate the individual as a member of the Corps.
(4)
If the Secretary determines that an individual shall provide obligated service as a member of the Corps who is not an employee of the United States, the Secretary shall, as soon as possible after the date described in paragraph (5), designate such individual as a member of the Corps to provide such service.
(5)
(A)
In the case of the Scholarship Program, the date referred to in paragraphs (1) through (4) shall be the date on which the individual completes the training required for the degree for which the individual receives the scholarship, except that—
(i)
for an individual receiving such a degree after September 30, 2000, from a school of medicine or osteopathic medicine, such date shall be the date the individual completes a residency in a specialty that the Secretary determines is consistent with the needs of the Corps; and
(ii)
at the request of an individual, the Secretary may, consistent with the needs of the Corps, defer such date until the end of a period of time required for the individual to complete advanced training (including an internship or residency).
(B)
No period of internship, residency, or other advanced clinical training shall be counted toward satisfying a period of obligated service under this subpart.
(C)
In the case of the Loan Repayment Program, if an individual is required to provide obligated service under such Program, the date referred to in paragraphs (1) through (4)—
(i)
shall be the date determined under subparagraph (A) in the case of an individual who is enrolled in the final year of a course of study;
(ii)
shall, in the case of an individual who is enrolled in an approved graduate training program in medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, or other health profession, be the date the individual completes such training program; and
(iii)
shall, in the case of an individual who has a degree in medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, or other health profession and who has completed graduate training, be the date the individual enters into an agreement with the Secretary under section 254l–1 of this title.
(c)
Obligated service period; commencement
An individual shall be considered to have begun serving a period of obligated service—
(1)
on the date such individual is appointed as an officer in a Regular or Reserve Corps of the Service or is designated as a member of the Corps under subsection (b)(3) or (b)(4), or
(2)
in the case of an individual who has entered into an agreement with the Secretary under section 254n of this title, on the date specified in such agreement,
whichever is earlier.
(d)
Assignment of personnel

The Secretary shall assign individuals performing obligated service in accordance with a written contract under the Scholarship Program to health professional shortage areas in accordance with sections 254d through 254h and sections 254j and 254k of this title. If the Secretary determines that there is no need in a health professional shortage area (designated under section 254e of this title) for a member of the profession in which an individual is obligated to provide service under a written contract and if such individual is an officer in the Service or a civilian employee of the United States, the Secretary may detail such individual to serve his period of obligated service as a full-time member of such profession in such unit of the Department as the Secretary may determine.

(July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title III, § 338C, formerly title VII, § 752, as added Pub. L. 94–484, title IV, § 408(b)(1), Oct. 12, 1976, 90 Stat. 2284; amended Pub. L. 95–626, title I, § 113(b), Nov. 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 3563; Pub. L. 96–76, title II, § 202(a), (b), Sept. 29, 1979, 93 Stat. 582; renumbered § 338B and amended Pub. L. 97–35, title XXVII, § 2709(a), (c), Aug. 13, 1981, 95 Stat. 908, 909; Pub. L. 97–414, § 8(g)(1), Jan. 4, 1983, 96 Stat. 2061; renumbered § 338C and amended Pub. L. 100–177, title II, § 201(2), title III, § 306, Dec. 1, 1987, 101 Stat. 992, 1004; Pub. L. 100–607, title VI, § 629(a)(2), Nov. 4, 1988, 102 Stat. 3146; Pub. L. 101–597, title IV, § 401(b)[(a)], Nov. 16, 1990, 104 Stat. 3035; Pub. L. 107–251, title III, § 311, Oct. 26, 2002, 116 Stat. 1650; Pub. L. 111–148, title V, § 5508(b), title X, § 10501(n)(5), Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 670, 1003.)
cite as: 42 USC 254m