Stand Ready To Assist

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In almost a parody upon itself, the AAFP News put out this headline for its article on the VA mess:

Family Physicians ‘Stand Ready to Assist’ Nation’s Veterans

In other words, family docs, we are sending the veterans your way.  Like it or not.   The AAFP offered our services so be a good sport about it and do it.   The government will thank you some day.  Not.

The AAFP outlined five proposals that could address the immediate primary care physician shortage:

  • Allow family physicians working outside the agency to treat eligible veterans.

  • Permit prescriptions written by civilian family physicians to be filled at VA pharmacies.

  • Allow civilian family physicians to order diagnostic tests at VA facilities.

  • Permit FPs outside the system to make referrals to subspecialists and other health care professionals working in VA facilities.

  • Enable civilian FPs to provide care for eligible veterans in accordance with the protections provided by the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Listen, we all want to help patients.  We all feel patriotic to our country and want to help the veterans.  I get that.  I also get that veterans are not easy patients and have a ton of problems.  There also is a NATIONAL primary care shortage for the same reason there is a VA primary care shortage.  That reason being MONEY.  So before the AMA offered us up so casually they should have asked for some real concessions.  More pay.  No nurses lead ACOs.  More overall tort reform.  And a ton of others things.   Instead, they threw us under the bus again.  Thanks, guys, should be lots of fun.

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