Several Initiatives with Common Goal: Increasing Access to Care for Veterans

The Veterans Administration (VA) recently announced a plan to improve veterans’ access to care that includes increasing loan repayment opportunities and physician salaries and hiring more providers.

In August, VA physicians published their ideas to improve care for veterans in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Top of the list — hiring more doctors.

“With the increased number of veterans enrolled in the VA health care system, more physicians, nurses, and support staff should be hired to remain commensurate with this growth rate,” according to authors.

Increasing loan forgiveness has been one of the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s (PAMED’s) top advocacy priorities.

Some states also are developing physician registries to help link veterans’ need care with providers. PAMED continues to work with the VA to identify how to best link Pennsylvania physicians willing to provide care to veterans.

There is also a new federal law that authorizes the VA to enter into provider agreements with physicians in private practice so that they can deliver care during the next two years to veterans who live too far from a VA facility or cannot access timely care from a VA facility. The law also funds 1,500 new residency slots for veterans’ care.