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Chairman Roe Introduces Bill to Create VA Medical Scribes Pilot Program

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Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced the Veterans Affairs Medical Scribe Pilot Act of 2017, legislation to create a two-year medical scribes pilot program within VA.

Chairman Roe released the following statement on the legislation:  

“Over the last three years since the VA waitlist scandal broke, we’ve looked at several ways to make VA work better for veterans. I know that many primary care providers within the VA are doing their best to see patients, and I believe having medical scribes working to help input patient data will allow VA physicians to be more efficient, focus more on patient care and improve job satisfaction. As a physician, I know scribes can greatly benefit the efficiency of a medical practice while still preserving the doctor-patient relationship. The problems within the VA won’t be solved overnight, but my bill represents the kind of innovative, 21st-century thinking we need to ensure veterans receive the quality care they deserve.”

Under this legislation, a two-year pilot program will be carried out at ten medical centers around the country chosen by the VA Secretary. The bill requires the Secretary to select at least four medical centers located in rural areas, at least four medical centers located in urban areas and two located in areas where a need for increased access exists. Additionally, it requires four scribes be assigned to each medical center, with two scribes assigned to each of two physicians. 30 percent of scribes will be employed in emergency care and 70 percent of scribes will be employed in specialties with the longest patient wait times or lowest efficiency ratings. It also requires VA to hire 20 new VA employees as medical scribes, and to enter into contracts with outside entities in order to employ 20 additional scribes. VA will be required to report back to Congress every 180 days the effects the pilot program has had on provider satisfaction, provider productivity, patient satisfaction, average wait time and the number of patients seen per day. 

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Tags: Health

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