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With Help, Doctor Continues to Serve Southwest Washington Patients
Herrera Beutler’s Office Assists Local Doctor in Obtaining Work Permit
With no time to spare, Dr. Waseem Makhoul was finally granted a federal work permit extension on February 16 that allowed him to continue treating patients in Southwest Washington. Dr. Makhoul and his clinic serve residents throughout the region, many of whom are economically disadvantaged and medically underserved.
A little more than one month prior, Dr. Makhoul contacted Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler’s office in pursuit of her assistance. “I am really worried about my practice because I have patients to see and employees to pay their salaries, but I will not be able to do so unless I receive at least the work authorization renewal permit,” his fax to the congresswoman said. “I would highly appreciate your time and effort in helping me.” His permit was set to expire February 15.
Jaime’s staff agreed to look into the matter for Dr. Makhoul. While the congresswoman and her staff routinely assist local residents with issues or challenges regarding federal agencies, this case appeared unique.
Dr. Makhoul had applied for an Adjustment of Status Petition (AOS) in order to become a permanent resident in November of 2009 – an application that is still pending, but on average takes the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) only five months to process. In the mean time, he had obtained a temporary authorization from USCIS to continue working, but was fast approaching the February 15 expiration date and hadn’t received an extension.
Dr. Makhoul and his clinic, the Northwest Asthma Allergy Center, serve patients in Longview, Centralia, Olympia and Vancouver. In some locations, Dr. Makhoul and his business partner are the only allergy specialists in the area who accept Medicare and Medicaid. They see patients of all ages with asthma, allergy and immunodeficiency-related issues.
Herrera Beutler and her staff recognized the slim likelihood of Dr. Makhoul receiving the extension before his deadline, meaning many residents of the region would be losing access to specialty care. Her staff contacted USCIS and relayed the importance of the deadline. They continued to follow up with the agency to try and solve any problems that were causing delays.
A few phone calls, emails, faxes later – and a USCIS employer working from home to complete the application –on February 16, Dr. Makhoul received his extension.
“It’s clear that Congresswoman Herrera Beutler is here to help locals,” said Dr. Makhoul. “This helps people without insurance, it helps seniors, because we provide that care.”
“I’m so pleased that we were able to help Dr. Makhoul continue caring for residents right here in Southwest Washington,” said Herrera Beutler. “He provides such an important service to our neighbors and friends. I was elected to be a public servant, and my office is here to help solve problems. Sometimes, it takes a little extra effort to find solutions, but we’re ready to help.”