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AMA Encourages the Federal Government to Utilize Private Sector Physicians to Help Solve VA Crisis

Urges Creation of Registries Identifying Physicians Ready and Willing to Meet Veterans' Health Care Needs

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - June 10, 2014) - The American Medical Association (AMA) today voted to ask President Obama to provide timely access to entitled care for eligible veterans utilizing the health care sector outside of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system until the VA can provide health care in a timely fashion. Further, the AMA will also urge Congress to rapidly enact long-term solutions so that eligible veterans can always have timely access to entitled care.

Facing an access to care crisis where thousands of veterans are unable to receive the care they need and deserve in a timely fashion, a VA audit released this week found that more than 57,000 veterans are still awaiting their first medical appointment at VA medical facilities, while 64,000 who have enrolled in the VA's health care system have never had an appointment.

"The AMA believes that all Americans should have access to health care, especially those who bravely serve our country," said Incoming AMA President, Robert M. Wah, M.D. "Our nation's physicians can and should be a part of the solution to this national crisis to ensure America's veterans get access to the care they need and deserve."

As part of the new policy, the AMA is recommending that state and local medical societies develop a registry of physicians who are ready and willing to care for veterans. These registries can then be provided to local communities and VAs across the country to help expedite access to care.

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