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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Rep. Ron Kind introduces bipartisan bill to help recruit health care professionals to Wisconsin VA facilities

WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Rep. Ron Kind introduced legislation to assist the Department of Veterans Affairs in recruiting talented health care professionals to Wisconsin VA facilities. 

In recent years a number of VA clinics, including ones in Wisconsin Rapids and Wausau, have been forced to turn away patients due to staffing shortages. The Tomah VA Medical Center has also been forced to cut back services due to problems recruiting physicians. This legislation would help fix these problems.

“In western and central Wisconsin we have seen a number of VA facilities turn our veterans away and stop offering vital services due to a shortage of physicians and health care professionals. That is unacceptable. This is a matter of fairness to our veterans – they served our country, and they deserve proper health care. Through more recruiting tools to bring good health care professionals to Wisconsin, we can better fulfill our promise of quality health care to our veterans,” Rep. Kind stated.

This bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). It designates the Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).  By making this designation, it allows these sites to compete for National Health Service Corps fellows, which is a program that pays student loan repayment or gives scholarships to doctors, dentists, mental health professionals, nurses, or medical students who pledge to practice in a HPSA for at least two years.

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