Kaptur bill to train future health professionals to care for veterans advances in key committee

June 28, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – This week, a bill by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) advanced in a key subcommittee in the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Kaptur’s bill, the Veterans-Specific Education for Tomorrow’s Health Professionals (VET HP) Act would bolster shadowing and training opportunities for medical professionals, like doctors, nurses, and physical therapists, who provide health care services for our veterans. This hurdle moves this bill one more step toward passage.

“There are few duties more sacred than our Nation’s charge to deliver quality care to our veterans who have bravely served liberty’s cause,” said Kaptur. “Those willing to serve are owed the best care possible. We must do more to train health professionals in order to decrease the impact of a physician shortage. Our bill creates more opportunities for students to get the training they need to care for our veterans.”

“In order to meet our veterans’ needs for health care providers, we must look to all steps of the medical education process to build a diverse pipeline of students. Expanding access to clinical observation is one of those key steps. The VET HP Act will help build a pipeline of health care providers with veteran-specific experience and fill our health care workforce shortage,” said Congressman Mark Takano, (D-CA), Vice-Ranking Member on the Veterans Affairs Committee.

More about the VET HP Act:

All schools for health professions either require or recommend clinical observation hours as part of an admission application but there is no formal process to apply for these opportunities. Students who attend schools outside major cities, as well as those whose families lack connections to the medical and health care community, are disadvantaged in admissions to these schools. This places an unfair burden on otherwise qualified students who come from less affluent communities or rural areas, or who may not have connections to health professionals.

The VET HP bill:

  • Provides a pathway for pre-health students to gain valuable shadowing hours and levels the playing field in admissions to health professions schools;
  • Creates a 3-year pilot program at no less than 5 VA hospitals or clinics that would prioritize students in health professional shortage area, first-generation college students, students referred by minority-serving institutions, and veterans;
  • Expands the pool of health providers and fosters an early awareness of the specific health care needs of veterans, potentially making a dent in the health professions shortage.