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NRMP waiver and possible violation?

doktor_Merkwürdigliebe

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2+ Year Member
Jun 9, 2018
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Hello everybody,

I am a prelim resident in IM. During the last match I got a categorical position in another IM program.
After the match an issue came up with the ECFMG: I am on a J1 and the ECFMG would not allow me to repeat PGY1, unless my PD (the new one or the old one, nobody knows) would provide a reason for it.
During my prelim year I met several time with my current PD and discussed my strategy to continue my residency path. This circumstance was never mentioned and my approach of looking for a categorical was deemed appropriate. I made a terrible mistake in forgetting about this statement the ECFMG had me sign during the onboarding process last year, I have no idea how it happened and I beg you not linger on this.

At the beginning of May, while onboarding for the new program, I randomly found again that signed statement while browsing my ECFMG J1 sponsorship website and immediately forwarded it to the TPL and the PC of the new program. They tried a way around it, but it didn't work.
My current program GME office told them that this happens all the time in surgery (where repeating PGY1 - also on a J1 visa - is common) and this form would have been needed. The PD of the new program, apparently forced by his GME office, said that was not an option (funding issue? not sure).
I still believe that could have been an easy solution, especially considering how this year of residency has been for everybody due to Covid.

And here we are to the NRMP waiver.
The statement made by the new PD it's fair and objective. It doesn't even blame me too much, it just reports that I signed that document and that unfortunately because of that the ECFMG will not sponsor my J1 to repeat PGY1.
Now it's my turn to make a statement and I asked assistance to the CIR legal office, which provided me with a statement that I don't like: it blames the new program and says that this way I will be forced to return in my country of origin.
I don't want to blame the new program, I just want to break the contract, not occurring in a violation, and displaying that I was in good faith.

Could you please suggest a good way to phrase this?
I was thinking of attaching the email I sent at the very beginning of May, that shows that as soon as I realized the issue I informed them. Do you guys think it is a good idea?
Is it ok to apologize for the inconvenience and close saying that of course you agree with the waiver and you hope the situation will resolve in the best way possible? Too much?

What I am scared of is that ignorance (in this case forgetting about that statement) is never a good excuse when it comes to rules, and that the NRMP will recognize a violation, despite the fact I never lied about my visa neither my current position as a preliminary. They (both programs) were not aware of this rule either.
Any suggestion is more than welcomed.
Stay safe
DrM
 

NotAProgDirector

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Unfortunately, this is a real issue with the J visa. I feel like enforcement comes and goes. You are not allowed to repeat a PGY year. That means that someone who matches to a prelim GS PGY-1 position cannot then match the next year to a Cat GS PGY-1 position -- they must move on to a PGY-2 position. This becomes a huge problem, since there aren't that many PGY-2 positions you can actually get after a prelim GS year.

You're in the same boat. Unfortunately, you need a PGY-2 IM position. You can't repeat your PGY-1 year. Completing the remediation form is being untruthful -- you're not repeating the year because your performance was sub par.

The good news here is that the NRMP is likely to just waive your match. You're unlikely to get a violation -- you'll explain this was an error / oversight and that neither current nor new program was aware. You;ll still need to find a PGY-2 position, or your visa will end.

I agree that blaming your new program is a very bad idea.
 
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doktor_Merkwürdigliebe

New Member
2+ Year Member
Jun 9, 2018
10
0
76
Unfortunately, this is a real issue with the J visa. I feel like enforcement comes and goes. You are not allowed to repeat a PGY year. That means that someone who matches to a prelim GS PGY-1 position cannot then match the next year to a Cat GS PGY-1 position -- they must move on to a PGY-2 position. This becomes a huge problem, since there aren't that many PGY-2 positions you can actually get after a prelim GS year.

You're in the same boat. Unfortunately, you need a PGY-2 IM position. You can't repeat your PGY-1 year. Completing the remediation form is being untruthful -- you're not repeating the year because your performance was sub par.

The good news here is that the NRMP is likely to just waive your match. You're unlikely to get a violation -- you'll explain this was an error / oversight and that neither current nor new program was aware. You;ll still need to find a PGY-2 position, or your visa will end.

I agree that blaming your new program is a very bad idea.

Thank you for the prompt reply and the words of hope.
Finding a PGY2 position is tough, I am aware. Once free of the contract, I will monitor residencyswap, inforesidency and find-a-residency closely. I will move to the other side of the country if necessary.
Nothing much else to do now other than completing my statement and wait for the waiver.
The frustration for losing that position, in a program that would have been an amazing fit for me, is immense.

PS
I don't want any other resident in the future to end up in my place - although I would be surprised others could be as stupid as I was.
Is there anything I can do? I was thinking of writing the ECFMG: they need to put this rule on their website or in their booklet. This statement that I signed must be included in the documentation checklist for J1 visa, listed in the documentation required if applicable.
 
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