38 USC 7616 - Obligated service

(a) Each participant in the Scholarship Program shall provide service as a full-time employee of the Department for the period of obligated service provided in the agreement of the participant entered into under section 7603 of this title. Such service shall be provided in the full-time clinical practice of such participants profession or in another health-care position in an assignment or location determined by the Secretary.
(b) 
(1) Not later than 60 days before the participants service commencement date, the Secretary shall notify the participant of that service commencement date. That date is the date for the beginning of the participants period of obligated service.
(2) As soon as possible after the participants service commencement date, the Secretary shall

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(A) in the case of a participant who is not a full-time employee in the Veterans Health Administration, appoint such participant as such an employee; and
(B) in the case of a participant who is an employee in the Veterans Health Administration but is not serving in a position for which such participants course of education or training prepared such participant, assign such participant to such a position.
(3) 
(A) 
(i) In the case of a participant receiving a degree from a school of medicine, osteopathy, dentistry, optometry, or podiatry, the participants service commencement date is the date upon which the participant becomes licensed to practice medicine, osteopathy, dentistry, optometry, or podiatry, as the case may be, in a State. However, the Secretary may, at the request of such participant, defer such date until the end of the period of time required for the participant to complete an internship or residency or other advanced clinical training. If the participant requests such a deferral, the Secretary shall notify the participant that such deferral could lead to an additional period of obligated service in accordance with paragraph (4) of this subsection.
(ii) No such period of internship or residency or other advanced clinical training shall be counted toward satisfying a period of obligated service under this subchapter.
(B) In the case of a participant receiving a degree from a school of nursing, the participants service commencement date is the later of
(i)  the participants course completion date, or
(ii)  the date upon which the participant becomes licensed as a registered nurse in a State.
(C) In the case of a participant not covered by subparagraph (A) or (B) of this paragraph, the participants service commencement date is the later of

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(i)  the participants course completion date, or
(ii)  the date the participant meets any applicable licensure or certification requirements.
(4) A participant whose period of obligated service is deferred under paragraph (3)(A) of this subsection shall be required to undertake internship or residency or other advanced clinical training in an accredited program in an educational institution which is an affiliated institution (as defined in section 7423 (d)(1) of this title) and with respect to which the affiliation agreement provides that all or part of the internship or residency or other advanced clinical training will be undertaken in a Department health-care facility. Such a participant may, at the discretion of the Secretary and upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, incur an additional period of obligated service
(A) at the rate of one-half of a calendar year for each year of internship or residency or other advanced clinical training (or a proportionate ratio thereof), if the internship, residency, or advanced clinical training is in a medical specialty necessary to meet the health-care requirements of the Department (as determined under regulations prescribed by the Secretary); or
(B) at the rate of three-quarters of a calendar year for each year of internship or residency or other advanced clinical training (or a proportionate ratio thereof), if the internship, residency, or advanced clinical training is not in a medical specialty necessary to meet the health-care requirements of the Department (as determined under regulations prescribed by the Secretary).
(5) The Secretary shall by regulation prescribe the service commencement date for participants who were part-time students. Such regulations shall prescribe terms as similar as practicable to the terms set forth in paragraph (3) of this subsection.
(c) 
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a participant in the Scholarship Program shall be considered to have begun serving such participants period of obligated service
(A) on the date, after such participants course completion date, on which such participant (in accordance with subsection (b) of this section) is appointed under this chapter as a full-time employee in the Veterans Health Administration; or
(B) if the participant is a full-time employee in the Veterans Health Administration on such course completion date, on the date thereafter on which such participant is assigned to a position for which such participants course of training prepared such participant.
(2) A participant in the Scholarship Program who on such participants course completion date is a full-time employee in the Veterans Health Administration serving in a capacity for which such participants course of training prepared such participant shall be considered to have begun serving such participants period of obligated service on such course completion date.
(3) For the purposes of this section, the term course completion date means the date on which a participant in the Scholarship Program completes such participants course of education or training under the program.