The AAMC submitted a Sept. 27 comment letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on its interim final rule related to reproductive health care services.
“We support the VA’s decision in the [rule] to include in its medical benefits package coverage of abortion counseling and access to abortions when the life or the health of the pregnant Veteran or Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs [CHAMPVA] beneficiary is at risk or in the case of rape or incest. This will enable VA and CHAMPVA beneficiaries’ access to medically necessary and appropriate reproductive health care through the VA, no matter where they live,” the letter stated.
The association also commended the VA for clarifying that state and local laws and regulations that would prevent VA health care professionals from providing needed abortion-related care, as permitted in its rule, are preempted by the VA’s authority under federal laws.
The letter stated that “physicians, nurses, and other qualified personnel must be able to work directly with their patients to make decisions about the most appropriate care.” In addition, it emphasized that it is crucial that medical students and residents who wish to have comprehensive training in the full spectrum of reproductive health care have that option available. “At a time when the opportunities for such training are contracting and even disappearing in many parts of the country, it will also mean that should those providers leave the VA in the future to practice medicine, their patients will have access to providers who are well-trained in delivering these services,” the letter concluded.