Kaptur’s VET HP Act that will help bolster training for future health professionals to care for veterans passes U.S. House

July 24, 2018
Press Release
Bill works to address veteran health care staff shortages and increases shadowing opportunities vital to young students getting health training

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House has passed Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s (OH-09) bill, H.R. 2787, the Veterans-Specific Education for Tomorrow’s Health Professionals (VET HP) Act. The bill would create shadowing and training opportunities for individuals entering the medical profession, including doctors, nurses, and physical therapists, who provide health care services for veterans.

“It is remarkable what we can accomplish when we work together,” said Kaptur. “I am pleased and honored that this Congress is moving forward with our effort to establish a clinical observation pilot for future health professionals within the VA medical system. I thank Chairman Phil Roe and Ranking Member Tim Walz and Vice Ranking Member Mark Takano for their help and thoughtful review of this measure. Our attention now turns to the Senate where we hope our bill can receive quick review and action.”

Watch Kaptur’s speech during debate on the bill (click here).

As part of their admissions application, all schools for health professions either require or recommend clinical observation hours, 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, face a disadvantage when looking for clinical observation hours and therefore admissions. This places an unfair burden on otherwise qualified students who lack the opportunity to shadow and who would benefit from the diverse, and often specialized, care provided in the VA health system. 

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;
  • Prioritizes students who wish to train in health professions experiencing staffing shortage.
  • 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.