New Federal Law Aims to Address Veterans’ Access to Care

A new federal law–the Veterans’ Access to Care Through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014—is aimed at increasing veterans’ access to care by authorizing the Veterans Administration (VA) to enter into provider agreements with physicians in private practices 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 new law also funds 1,500 new residency slots for veterans’ care.

The delegates at the American Medical Association (AMA) Annual Meeting in June voted to work with state medical societies to create state-specific registries of physicians outside of the VA willing to see veterans, especially those veterans who have experienced long wait-times for care.
The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) supports the AMA’s resolution and is currently working with administrative leaders within the VA to identify how best to link Pennsylvania physicians willing to see veterans to veterans needing care.

Several states, including Texas and Florida, have already created physician registries. As we continue our work with the VA, PAMED is learning from those states to ensure that the registry is helpful and will be used by veterans seeking care.

Health Net, who partners with the VA to provide a wide spectrum of high quality, cost-effective health care services to U.S. veterans across the nation, offers additional information for providers on their website. Health Net’s website also includes information on the Patient-Centered Community Care (PCCC) program, which provides eligible veterans access to care through a comprehensive network of community-based providers when the VA cannot provide care in their own facilities.