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McDermott Introduces Legislation To Address Need for Primary Care Physicians in the VA

July 30, 2014



July 30, 2014

Contact: Jack d'Annibale

jack.dannibale@mail.house.gov

202-430-0311

McDermott Introduces Legislation To Address Need for Primary Care Physicians in the VA

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Jim McDermott (D, WA-7) has introduced H.R. 5224, The RDOCS-VA Act, to address the shortage of physicians at medical facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"Given recent events, it is clear that long wait times at VA facilities are, in part, a consequence of understaffing and a doctor shortage. That's why I am introducing The RDOCS-VA Act to annually create 400 new VA physicians," said Congressman McDermott. "This legislation would provide medical school scholarships in exchange for a five-year commitment to serve at the VA. Success in our mission to care for America's Veterans will be largely measured by a corps of new primary care physicians that are ready to care for our warriors."

An Urgent Shortage of Primary Care Physicians at the VA

* The VA currently provides for loan repayment and scholarships that fund the education and training of a range of health providers through the Health Professional Educational Assistance Program.

* Unfortunately, Educational Assistance Program benefits are limited and, as currently designed, the program does little to encourage primary care physicians to work at the VA.

* Furthermore, recent proposals to reform the VA do not go far enough to emphasize training VA doctors who are committed to the practice of primary care medicine.

* As such, the VA recently estimated that it had about 400 unfilled vacancies for primary care doctors.

A Solution to the Shortage: The RDOCS-VA Act

* The RDOCS-VA Act will strengthen the Health Professional Educational Assistance Program.

* Modeled after the successful ROTC program, RDOCS-VA will provide scholarships and stipends covering the full cost of attending medical school, in exchange for a five-year commitment to service as primary care doctors at the VA.

* RDOCS-VA is designed to directly address the VA's needs by requiring the annual creation of a minimum of 400 RDOCS-VA scholarships, with flexibility to award even more scholarships in the future.


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Source: Congressional Documents & Publications


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