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house Bill H.R. 1271

Should the VA Help Pre-Health Students Gain Access to Shadowing Hours at its Hospitals?

Argument in favor

There are numerous barriers to underprivileged pre-health students gaining access to the shadowing hours they need to be competitive in admissions for health professions schools, including MD and nursing programs. The pilot program this bill prescribes would help level the playing field.

burrkitty's Opinion
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03/05/2019
This is nice. So fine go ahead. But understand that without properly funding the VA, this is all wasted effort. It doesn’t matter if you have a pipeline for future medical personnel if you don’t pay them and hire sufficient numbers of them. More than helping some future medical personnel get shadowing hours, maybe we should fully fund the VA to help our veterans immediately.
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Jace's Opinion
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03/05/2019
As a veteran seeking a career in the medical field, this would not only help me gain experience, but more importantly help veterans get more compassionate care from shadowed VA personnel.
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03/05/2019
This bill offers a good way to address multiple problems of motivating students toward higher education, addressing some of the future staffing needs of the VA and driving up in the long term the quality of VA health services. The devil is in the implementation details which would require close and careful oversight that should be built into the program.
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Argument opposed

All VA hospital programs have student volunteer programs, which give student volunteers — including those who are on the pre-health track — exposure to the healthcare that the VA offers to veterans. There’s no need for another program to help underprivileged pre-health students.

SneakyPete's Opinion
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03/05/2019
All VA hospital programs have student volunteer programs, which give student volunteers — including those who are on the pre-health track — exposure to the healthcare that the VA offers to veterans. There’s no need for another program to help underprivileged pre-health students.
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Ray's Opinion
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03/05/2019
VA should focus on helping veterans in need of healthcare. I am having a difficult time agreeing to this proposal while we know veterans are not getting the basic support, care or funding. Any arrangement between medical schools and VA should be based on arrangements between the institutions and must provide a fully transparent option for any patients to deny a student in training to shadow medical professionals.
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Roger 's Opinion
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03/03/2019
We (because I am a disabled combat veteran) are not Guinea pigs. We shouldn't be use as some sick test platform for people that have no idea about what they are doing. Is it not bad enough that health care at the VA is already seriously lacking? Now politicians in all of their infinite wisdom want to make it worse with a bunch of lackies to a bunch of incompetent medical morons. Yep our wonderful lackluster government at work. Loverly, just loverly!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Health
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedFebruary 14th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1271?

This bill  — the Veterans-Specific Education for Tomorrow’s Health Professionals (Vet HP) Act — would provide a pathway for pre-health students to gain valuable shadowing hours in order to level the playing field in admissions to health professions schools. This bill would create a three-year pilot program at no fewer than five VA hospitals or clinics that would prioritize students in health professional shortage areas, first-generation college students, and students referred by minority-serving institutions and veterans. Students in this pilot program would gain a deeper understanding of veterans’ specific health needs and experiences, creating a viable pipeline of future VA physicians and medical professionals in the process.

The pilot program would prioritize students who wish to train in health professions experiencing staffing shortages, who lived in areas with health professional shortages, and who are the first in their immediate families to attend an undergraduate institution. Ultimately, this bill seeks to expand the pool of health providers and foster an early awareness of veterans’ specific health care needs, potentially making a dent in the health professions shortage.

Impact

Pre-health students; prospective applicants to medical professional programs; and VA hospitals.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1271

$2.00 Million
When this bill was introduced in the 115th Congress, the CBO estimated that it’d cost $2 million over the 2019-2023 period.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to bolster shadowing and training opportunities for medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and physical therapists, who provide healthcare services to veterans:

“Congress has a duty to ensure that our veterans, those who sacrificed so much for our country and for the liberty we all enjoy, receive the highest quality health care from the most highly trained health professionals. This bill furthers that effort.”

After this bill passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the 115th Congress, Rep. Kaptur said:

“There are few duties more sacred than our Nation’s charge to deliver quality care to our veterans who have bravely served liberty’s cause. Those willing to serve are owed the best care possible. We must do more to train health professionals in order to decrease the impact of a physician shortage. Our bill creates more opportunities for students to get the training they need to care for our veterans.”

Last Congress, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), Vice-Ranking Member on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said:

“In order to meet our veterans’ needs for health care providers, we must look to all steps of the medical education process to build a diverse pipeline of students. Expanding access to clinical observation is one of those key steps. The VET HP Act will help build a pipeline of health care providers with veteran-specific experience and fill our health care workforce shortage.”

This bill has three bipartisan cosponsors, including two Democrats and one Republican, in in the current session of Congress. Last Congress, it passed the House by a voice vote after Rep. Kaptur introduced it with the support of three bipartisan cosponsors, including two Democrats and one Republican. However, it didn’t receive a vote in the Senate. The American Legion and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) support this bill.


Of NoteAs part of their admissions applications, all schools for health professions either require or recommend clinical observation hours, but there’s no formal process to apply for these opportunities. Students attending schools outside major cities, as well as those whose families don’t have connections to the medical and healthcare community, are at a disadvantage when seeking clinical observation hours and, therefore, admissions. This puts otherwise qualified students who don’t have the opportunity to shadow, and who’d benefit from the diverse, and often specialized, care provided in the VA health system at a disadvantage.

Currently, all VA programs have VA voluntary service programs, which provide scholarship programs to students who volunteer at VA medical centers. Student volunteers get exposure to health career options, gain experience in a health care environment, learn new skills, and are eligible to be nominated for multiple college scholarships and the James H. Parke Memorial college scholarship.

The VA also has partnerships with affiliated colleges and universities across the country to train new healthcare professionals and enhance veteran healthcare. This program includes an internship program, which offers current students the opportunity to learn about various career paths at the VA and earn a salary while continuing their educations; a recent graduates program, which gives recent graduates from qualifying institutions valuable training, mentorship, heads-on experience, and professional development opportunities; and the Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF), which lets advanced degree candidates take charge of their own learning and advancement. Under these programs, 120,000 participants received training in 2017.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / jetcityimage)

AKA

Vet HP Act

Official Title

To establish in the Department of Veterans Affairs a pilot program instituting a clinical observation program for pre-med students preparing to attend medical school.

    This is nice. So fine go ahead. But understand that without properly funding the VA, this is all wasted effort. It doesn’t matter if you have a pipeline for future medical personnel if you don’t pay them and hire sufficient numbers of them. More than helping some future medical personnel get shadowing hours, maybe we should fully fund the VA to help our veterans immediately.
    Like (42)
    Follow
    Share
    All VA hospital programs have student volunteer programs, which give student volunteers — including those who are on the pre-health track — exposure to the healthcare that the VA offers to veterans. There’s no need for another program to help underprivileged pre-health students.
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    As a veteran seeking a career in the medical field, this would not only help me gain experience, but more importantly help veterans get more compassionate care from shadowed VA personnel.
    Like (26)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill offers a good way to address multiple problems of motivating students toward higher education, addressing some of the future staffing needs of the VA and driving up in the long term the quality of VA health services. The devil is in the implementation details which would require close and careful oversight that should be built into the program.
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    To ensure a return on investment, the bill should include establishing an employment contract between the student and the VA, ensuring that, upon graduation and meeting credentialing, these students will work for the VA for a specific amount of time in exchange for the job shadowing opportunity. Also, the hospitals involved should be selected from the best in the VA system.
    Like (8)
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    VA should focus on helping veterans in need of healthcare. I am having a difficult time agreeing to this proposal while we know veterans are not getting the basic support, care or funding. Any arrangement between medical schools and VA should be based on arrangements between the institutions and must provide a fully transparent option for any patients to deny a student in training to shadow medical professionals.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    We (because I am a disabled combat veteran) are not Guinea pigs. We shouldn't be use as some sick test platform for people that have no idea about what they are doing. Is it not bad enough that health care at the VA is already seriously lacking? Now politicians in all of their infinite wisdom want to make it worse with a bunch of lackies to a bunch of incompetent medical morons. Yep our wonderful lackluster government at work. Loverly, just loverly!
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    Absolutely! This is an excellent program to help underprivileged students gain valuable experience in the medical profession and specifically dealing with Veterans’ healthcare.
    Like (5)
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    Anything to help health professionals learn more about the horrors of war & how to help our vets which in turn would help everyone. . Maybe it would begin to open the countries eyes to not have s war Willy Nilly like we’ve done since Bush I over oil.
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    Of course. I’m a vet. And at the VA a couple times a month. It’s a great learning environment. They’ll see many things other doctors could go a career without seeing.
    Like (4)
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    We need qualified health care professionals. The more exposure candidates have, the better the chances that they will excel in their endeavors. Who knows, one of them may even save your life one day.
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    The VA can use all the help it can get and this will provide a great learning resource for these new students. The VA works with some very different and difficult patients who deserves the best treatment money and knowledge can buy.
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    I think this would be a good idea. They need the training. It would be a wonderful experience for them
    Like (3)
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    Stop separating by race, and
    Like (3)
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    The VA already supports interns and training medical staff. We are lucky in our area our VA has a great staff and doing great job for veterans. A lot of our interns come from local civilian hospitals. Which is a great thing. They get to see the good and bad of what the military produced in veterans and medical issues.
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    First-generation college students, and students referred by minority-serving institutions??? Can we PLEASE stop excluding people? It would be racist to make something for underemployed caucasians, so stop this nonsense already. I shouldn’t tell my daughter who wants to be a nurse that she cannot go learn at the VA because she’s white. Damnit.
    Like (3)
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    Anything to help those seeking to enter the healthcare field is a good thing.
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    This is excellent, students from all over healthcare disciplines can come together and learn about healthcare which is amazing in and in of itself. There’s an even bigger benefit, shadowing gives them experience into seeing what veterans health issues and seeing what they have to live with following a life of service
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    Yes a great idea.
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    Anywhere and anytime students can learn is invaluable!
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