VA Provider Equity Act Heads to Senate After Overwhelming Passage in the House

On February 9, 2016 the US House of Representatives passed HR 3016, Veterans Employment, Education, and Healthcare Improvement Act, which included APMA's VA Provider Equity Act. In addition to providing veterans with greater access to care provided by podiatrists, the legislation includes podiatrists within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) definition of physician and increases their pay grade to match other VA physician compensation, as well as improve promotion and leadership potential for podiatrists within the VA health care system.

The California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) sincerely thanks California Representatives Raul Ruiz (D-CA-36), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Adam Schiff (D-CA-28) and Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32) for co-sponsoring the legislation early and helping to shepherd it through the process. CPMA also joins with APMA in applauding the US House of Representatives for passing this vital legislation to help America's 22 million veterans.

APMA testified before the US House Veterans Affair Health Subcommittee about the recruitment and retention issues for podiatrists within the VA, and the legislation received support from the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled Veterans of America, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the Veterans Health Administration.

The passage of this legislation will help veterans like Montana-native Michael Tolomeo-Atwood. Tolomeo-Atwood joined the Navy at 17 and served for five years and is now a disabled veteran reliant on care by a podiatrist. He currently travels three and a half hours to receive treatment because there is no VA facility employing a podiatrist closer to his home, and it can take him up to two months to schedule an appointment.

While the Senate has yet to schedule a vote on S 2175, it has already agreed to engage in negotiations with the House on a compromise bill. CPMA urges its members to use the ready-made VA Provider Equity Act support letter on the APMA eAdvocacy site TODAY to tell Senators Boxer and Feinstein to follow the example of the House and pass this common sense legislation for the sake of veterans like Tolomeo-Atwood.

You will need your APMA login information to access the site. If you do not have it, please contact APMA's Membership Services department at 1-800-ASK-APMA