September 02, 2014
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is asking physicians in private practices to ensure veterans are receiving timely care following the scandal that rocked the department earlier this year.
Under the recent law, The Veterans’ Access to Care Through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act, the VA can enter into provider agreements with physicians in private practices to deliver care during the next 2 years to veterans who live far from a VA facility or those who cannot access care at a VA facility in a timely manner.
VA officials said they need input from the physician community to meet the 90-day implementation deadline issued by Congress, and they are looking to medical associations to help ensure the law is carried out in a way that provides the access to care that veterans need. The department is currently developing maps to identify gaps in access to VA facilities and medical facilities where physicians have agreed to see veterans in their practice. Thus far registries have been developed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Nebraska, New York, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.
In addition, the recent law allows and funds for 1500 new residency spots for veterans’ care. The VA is expected to issue guidance on this in the next few months.—Kerri Fitzgerald
Source: AMA. 2014; VA seeks physician assistance in boosting referrals for veterans.