Bill provides path for former medics, corpsmen to work as physician assistants in the VA, moves to full House for consideration
(Greg Lemon) – Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) today applauded House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs adoption of H.R. 3974, The Grow Our Own Directive: Physician Assistant Employment and Education Act of 2015, bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Heck and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH).
The bill, which is aimed at speeding access to care within the VA and providing job opportunities for veterans, was adopted on a unanimous voice vote and now can be considered by the full House of Representatives.
No one is better qualified to care for our veterans than veterans themselves,” Rep. Heck said. “We are facing a shortage of physicians and PAs within the VA, making this program long overdue. This bill will help us achieve two critically important goals: improving access to care at the VA and providing job opportunities for separated service members. I thank Chairman Jeff Miller for his leadership in moving this bill through the committee and look forward to supporting it on the House floor.
The Grow Our Own Directive: Physician Assistant Employment and Education Act of 2015 establishes a five-year pilot program within the VA to provide educational assistance to former medics and corpsmen for education and training as physician assistants in the VA. The educational assistance would be provided through the existing VA Health Professionals Education Assistance Program, and other educational assistance programs of the VA. Those who serve in the pilot program would then have a period of obligated service at the Veterans Health Administration, allowing them to give back to fellow veterans.
The concept for this legislation was brought to Rep. Heck by a local veteran who served as a PA in the Air Force and is now working as a physician assistant in Las Vegas.
The Grow Our Own Directive: Physician Assistant Employment and Education Act of 2015 is supported by the following organizations:
- Veterans Affairs Physician Assistant Association (VAPAA)
- Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)
- American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)
- Naval Association of Physician Assistants (NAPA)
- Blinded Veterans of America (BVA)
- National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS)
- The Retired Enlisted Association
- American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)
Congressman Joe Heck represents Nevada’s Third Congressional District in the House of Representatives. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.