Source: American Academy of Family Physicians Washington, DC, Office
On December 6, the U.S. House unanimously passed (by a vote of 419-0) the Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016 (HR 6416).
Among the many reforms in the 144-page bill is an amendment to the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA), which expanded the graduate medical education mission of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The VACAA gave the VHA authority to fund 1,500 new FTEs over a five-year period, with “priority to residency positions and programs in primary care, mental health, and any other specialty the Secretary determines appropriate.” (Before the VACAA, the VHA already supported over 10,000 FTEs; the VACAA added these 1,500 new “expansion” positions with an emphasis on primary care and mental health.) The Miller-Blumenthal bill would convert the five-year period to a 10-year period, thus allowing the VHA more time to use and fill all the expansion positions.
As of December 9, the bill was still awaiting action in the Senate.