Bera, Meadows Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Aid Vets

March 19, 2015 | Congressmen Ami Bera, M.D. (D-Elk Grove) and Republican Mark Meadows (NC-11) recently introduced The Doctors Helping H...

March 19, 2015 |

Congressmen Ami Bera, M.D. (D-Elk Grove) and Republican Mark Meadows (NC-11) recently introduced The Doctors Helping Heroes Act, bipartisan legislation first introduced last year that will help deal with the serious shortage of doctors the Veterans Affairs system is facing and help decrease wait times at VA hospitals. 

The bill would allow foreign doctors trained in the U.S. to practice at VA hospitals and in under-served areas where they are sorely needed.

“As a doctor who’s worked in the VA system, I’ve seen first-hand how much our veterans and their families have sacrificed for our country,” Bera said. “They deserve the best care possible and I’m proud to have worked with Congressman Meadows on this common sense bill to make sure doctors are available to care for our vets. This is just one step we should take to make sure our heroes get the health care they need and deserve.”

Experts agree that one of the primary factors contributing to long wait times at VA facilities is the lack of enough physicians to care for aging veterans from the Vietnam War and younger ones who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Under current law, most international physicians who are trained in the U.S. on J-1 visas must return to their home country for two years after their residency ends before they can apply for a new visa or a green card. Under the Conrad 30 program, these doctors can stay in the country without returning home if they agree to practice in an under-served area for three years.

The “30” refers to the number of doctors allowed per state to participate in the program. Bera and Meadows’ legislation would increase the number of visas allowed per state for doctors to practice at VA hospitals and under-served areas where doctors are sorely needed.

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Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

I certainly hope Congressmen Bera and Meadows can muster the support for this legislation. I am hard pressed to name a more deserving, yet more neglected group of Americans than veterans, particularly those who served in combat.

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