WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) today announced a bill to establish a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for non-VA medical professionals who treat veterans and their family members. This bill will help ensure effective treatment for military veterans who seek care at facilities outside of the VA system. The recently-enacted Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 allows veterans to seek care outside of the VA system if they are unable to secure an appointment at a VA medical facility within 30 days or reside more than 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility.
“No matter where they seek treatment, our veterans deserve the highest quality of health care,” said Brown, a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “VA professionals have hands-on experience recognizing how veterans’ and civilians’ medical needs can differ. This bill provides an opportunity for the VA to extend that knowledge to other medical professionals, giving them the specialized training and resources needed to serve veterans and their families.”
“Our veterans deserve top notch care. As we work to improve services at VA healthcare facilities, we are dedicated to helping doctors outside the VA have the best tools available for treating vets,” said Tiberi. “This common-sense bill would ensure veterans receive more tailored care and our doctors receive proper training in treating veterans and their unique needs. I thank Senator Brown for leading this effort in the Senate and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to advance this legislation.”
Medical professionals that primarily serve civilians may not have experience diagnosing or treating war-related physical and mental injuries. As regular CME is a requirement in states for licensed medical professionals, this legislation allows medical professionals to earn necessary CME credit while learning how to best serve veterans and their families.
Brown, who introduced a version of this bill last Congress, and Tiberi continue to work to address issues facing Ohio veterans. Brown served on the veterans’ conference committee to negotiate the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. This legislation – signed into law August 7, 2014 – helps ensure accountability at the VA while improving the delivery of health care provided to our nation’s veterans. In December 2012, Tiberi’s Missing in America measure to identify deceased eligible veterans without a next of kin and honor them with a proper burial was signed into law as part of the Dignified Burial of Veterans’ Act.