AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., Sept. 2 sent a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald to “highlight potential risks to VA-academic affiliations as the agency develops a plan to consolidate mechanisms for acquiring veteran care in the community.”
In the letter, Dr. Kirch recommends that the proposed Veterans Choice Program continue “a preference for academic affiliates when the education mission is impacted” and “full Medicare reimbursement rates, including medical education costs.” Further, he recommends that “VA consult representatives from the academic affiliate community as the agency develops a plan for Congress.”
The AAMC letter outlines the purposes behind VA’s statutory preference for patient services at academic affiliates, including:
- Maintaining VA Graduate Medical Education (GME) for recruitment;
- Improving veterans’ access to complex clinical care; and
- Nurturing an academic medicine environment at the VA.
Dr. Kirch’s letter comes in response to the Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-41), which requires the VA to develop a plan to consolidate all non-Department provider programs by establishing a new, single program to furnish hospital care and medical services to veterans at non-Department facilities. The plan is due to Congress by Nov. 1, 2015.