AAFP Supports Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, Stands Ready to Provide Care for Eligible Veterans

Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

Statement attributable to:
Reid Blackwelder, MD
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The AAFP supports the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, passed by Congress, and encourages the President to promptly sign it into law. In the wake of the VA scandal, the AAFP was the first physician organization to make specific recommendations to President Obama and Congressional leaders about how they could leverage America’s civilian family physicians to ensure timely access to primary care services for veterans.

“We’re pleased to see that the bill allows the Veterans Health Administration to contract with Medicare-participating family physicians and other providers to help alleviate the backlog. Payment will be negotiated at rates not to exceed Medicare rates, except in highly rural areas to ensure access to care. The bill also establishes 1,500 new residency positions at the VA, to be designated with priority to primary care and mental health.

“While the challenges associated with the current and future physician workforce within the VA will take time to fully resolve, this legislation will allow America’s civilian physicians to fill the void right away, ensuring that those who have served their country no longer have to wait for primary care. In the interest of meeting the health needs of the country’s veterans, family physicians are ready and willing to step up and help the VA meet its wait-time goals in serving each and every veteran.

“The AAFP is prepared to communicate these policy changes to our members and encourage them to do what they can to provide care to eligible veterans.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Blackwelder, contact Megan Moriarty, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5223, or mmoriarty@aafp.org.


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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).