Kaptur bill to train future health professionals to care for veterans passes full committee in House, will head to House floor

July 12, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, a bill introduced by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) advanced in the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Kaptur’s bill, H.R. 2787, the Veterans-Specific Education for Tomorrow’s Health Professionals (VET HP) Act would bolster shadowing and training opportunities for individuals entering the medical profession, including doctors, nurses, and physical therapists, who provide health care services for our veterans.

“Our veterans are owed a health care system that matches their great sacrifice for liberty’s cause and this bill is a step forward in the effort,” said Kaptur. “I thank members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, specifically Vice-Ranking Member Mark Takano (D-CA), for the attention to and support shown in passing our measure. I look forward to continuing this collaborative effort as the bill moves to the House floor soon.”

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.