June 17, 2014
Texas Medical Association (TMA) physicians are stepping up
to care for U.S. veterans awaiting health care in the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) system. A recent audit of the VA system found “systemic problems”
resulting in nearly 60,000 veterans waiting for health care appointments and a
widespread effort to make wait times appear shorter than they are.
TMA this week invited private
physicians across Texas to enroll in a TMA registry if they are willing to see
veterans in their offices. TMA will share the registry with community groups
that work with Texas veterans and with medical directors of VA facilities in
“America’s veterans need health
care, so TMA wants to create a system to connect them with Texas physicians who
want to help,” said Austin
I. King, MD, TMA’s president, who already has enrolled to care for veterans. He
noted other physicians can do so, too, by checking the “I am willing to
serve veterans” box in TMA’s online enrollment form. “I’m saddened that our veterans have been forced to wait
for the health care they need and deserve. So until the VA can solve this
problem, I, like many other Texas physicians, want to help care for them.”
Last week Texas and Florida physicians led the charge for the
American Medical Association to call for President Barack
Congress to act immediately to enable American veterans to access health care
they need outside of the VA system.
The resolution calls for “the President of the United States
[to] take immediate action to provide timely access to health care for eligible
veterans utilizing the health care sector outside the Veterans Administration”
until VA can provide health care in a timely fashion. The physicians also
called for Congress to pass a bipartisan, long-term solution to ensure veterans
can receive timely health care.
The AMA house also voted to “encourage all physicians to
participate, when needed, in the health care of veterans.”
Last week’s Gallup
poll reported 87 percent of Americans say it is “extremely” or “very
important” that the federal government fix the problems plaguing the VA and
improve health care services for veterans.
TMA is the largest state medical
society in the nation, representing more than 47,000 physician and medical
student members. It is located in Austin and has 112 component county medical
societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the
health of all Texans.
Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
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