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.


# # #

Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter,(twitter.com) and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).