The AAMC Oct. 30 endorsed the Enhanced Veterans Healthcare Act of 2015 (H.R. 3879) to provide the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) authority to pursue joint ventures with medical schools and teaching hospitals. The bipartisan legislation was introduced Nov. 3 by Reps. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and Mike Coffman (R-Colo.).
AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., praised the idea, writing, “The VA and academic medicine have enjoyed a 70-year history of affiliations to help care for those who have served this nation. However, this shared mission can be strengthened through joint ventures in research, education, and patient care.” He continues, “Already our institutions and medical faculty collaborate in these areas, but often VA lacks the administrative mechanisms to cooperatively increase medical personnel, services, equipment, infrastructure, and research capacity to meet growing demand for veteran health care.”
In his letter, Dr. Kirch outlines the benefits of these partnerships, including increased veteran access to non-VA facilities and improved care for the more than two-thirds of veterans not enrolled in VA health care.
H.R. 3879 could be considered as part of broader VA health care reform (see related story), along with legislation to provide Medicare Cap relief for certain VA affiliates (S. 1189, H.R. 3755), which the AAMC has previously endorsed [see Washington Highlights, July 31 and Oct. 23].