AMA Urges President Obama to Approve Vet Care by Physicians Outside of VA

The AMA is taking a leadership role in the VA crisis by urging President Obama to expand health coverage for veterans by allowing physicians practicing outside the Veterans Affairs system to fill the need for those veterans who cannot access VA care.

The House of Delegates unanimously approved the move promoted in two resolutions from the Organized Medical Staff Section (OMSS) the Florida Medical Association.

According to Medpage Today reporter, Sarah Wickline, the OMSS is asking for the “AMA to encourage physicians to treat veterans in need of care, and to develop and provide useful materials to help non-VA physicians treat veterans who have health complications unique to veterans.”

"When we looked at what was going on with the Veterans Administration, it became clear that the AMA really needed to take some leadership role in what we could do," Lee S. Perrin, MD, Boston, the delegate from the Organized Medical Staff Section (OMSS), said in the reference committee.

What has not been determined is the payment physicians will receive for providing care to Vets. Florida delegate David McKalip, MD, of St. Petersburg, said the bill should…” allow access to abundant care outside the VA, pay the full vets bill for them, and make sure that you don't ask us to provide care for free or at Medicaid rates. That's why the words 'full financial benefits' are in there,"

Rowen K. Zetterman, MD, from Omaha, Neb., an American College of Physicians delegate, who is a veteran and former chief of staff at a VA, told his colleagues reimbursement shouldn't matter. "We should be willing to stand up and care for these veterans whether we get full payment or not — whatever that stands for."

Source: Sarah Wickline, Medpage Today, June 10, 2014. To read the full story, click here.