Braley Introduces Veterans Access to Care Act Print
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 20 February 2012 14:39

Legislation seeks to attract top-notch medical talent to veterans’ care facilities

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced the Veterans Access to Care Act today, legislation that seeks to expand veterans’ access to quality healthcare by helping the Veterans Administration and state veterans’ homes recruit more highly-qualified doctors, nurses, and mental health providers to provide services to America’s veterans.

The legislation would make veterans’ care facilities eligible to hire National Health Service Corps fellows, helping attract recent medical school graduates to careers helping veterans.

Braley said, “The Veterans Access to Care Act will allow veterans’ healthcare facilities to hire from a top-notch pool of medical talent committed to practicing in the public interest.  This will improve veterans’ quality of care by encouraging the nation’s best and brightest young doctors to work in veterans’ healthcare facilities.


Braley continued, “The National Health Service Corps is a program with a well-established track record of attracting high quality medical professionals who have chosen to give back to their country by serving those who are most in need.  What better group of people to have caring for our veterans, who share this commitment to service?”


The National Health Service Corps is a national scholarship program operated by the US Department of Health and Human Services that pays medical school expenses for future doctors, nurses, and health practitioners who agree to work in medically underserved areas after graduation.  Braley’s bill would simply add Veterans Administration facilities and state veterans’ homes as eligible “underserved areas” in which graduates would be eligible to serve.

Dr. Douglas Steenblock, Director of Mental Health Services at the Iowa Veterans’ Home in Marshalltown, approached Braley with the idea for the bill.  Steenblock is himself a former fellow of the National Health Service Corps.


Steenblock said, “It can be difficult to attract medical professionals to work in the unique environment of a veterans’ facility, particularly those outside of our major metropolitan areas.  The Iowa Veterans’ Home Mental Health Department hasn’t been fully staffed since September 2010 despite ongoing efforts to hire new personnel.  The National Health Service Corps has proven to be a powerful incentive to recruit and retain quality providers in underserved areas.  It could be easily adapted to do the same for veterans’ facilities.”


The bill introduced by Braley today is similar to a proposal he introduced in 2010.  The text of the bill can be downloaded at the following link:

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