July 15, 2014
Calling it a “life or death
issue,” Texas Medical Association (TMA) President Austin I. King, MD, is repeating
his urgent request for President Barack Obama to take immediate action to
enable private physicians to care for U.S. veterans.
For the second time in a
month, TMA is seeking an executive
order from the president to establish a simple system for non-Veterans
Affairs (VA) physicians to care for men and women who served in the American
“Mr. President, one
month has gone by with no action by your administration and no response from
you,” Dr. King said in TMA’s
letter to the president. “Each passing day carries the real-life risk
of death and avoidable morbidity for the men and women who have served our
country so bravely.”
A presidential executive order would
open the door for Texas veterans to begin seeing doctors who want to care for
them. More than 300 physicians have signed up for TMA’s volunteer registry of
doctors willing to see veterans in their offices — despite VA’s reputation
among private-sector physicians for bureaucratic problems and uncertain payment.
Nearly 1.7 million veterans live in Texas — the second most of any state.
A recent audit of
the VA system found “systemic problems” resulting in
nearly 60,000 veterans waiting for health care appointments nationwide, and a
widespread effort to make wait times appear shorter than they are.
Because of this news, TMA
and Florida physicians in June led the American Medical Association to pass
policy urging the president to help and calling on Congress to pass a
bipartisan, long-term solution to ensure veterans can receive timely health
Congress is reportedly working
on legislation to solve this issue, though reports indicate August would be the
earliest that a bill could reach the president’s desk.
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.
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Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
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