In Veterans Omnibus bill, Measure Passes to Get More Medical Professionals Working at the VA in Southern Nevada

Dec 6, 2016
Press Release

December 16, 2016

Washington, D.C.—Today Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District applauded the passage of H.R. 6416, an omnibus measure that will improve health, education, and administrative programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Southern Nevada and around the country. 

Rep. Titus, a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, sponsored a measure in the bill allowing the VA to continue increasing the number of medical residencies at the department’s healthcare facilities until 2024.  
With the inaugural class of the UNLV School of Medicine beginning in 2017, the legislation will provide opportunities for residents to treat veterans in Southern Nevada.  The bill will extend a provision authored by Rep. Titus and signed into law two years ago that expands the number of graduate medical education (GME) slots at the VA by 1,500. That measure was set to expire in 2019 but will now continue for an additional five years. 

“Our veterans deserve greater access to VA health care professionals in Las Vegas,” Rep. Titus said. “This legislation will give medical school residents at UNLV an opportunity to work with the VA, develop an expertise in specialized fields, and thereby ease the burden on our current system.” 

"This is fantastic news," said Barbara Atkinson, MD, founding dean of UNLV School of Medicine. "We need residency programs in Southern Nevada so our students will stay in the state after they finish their training."

The measure, which has support from the Association of American Medical Colleges, highlights the need for Nevada to address its shortage of physicians in the public and private sectors.  

Studies show that doctors are more likely to continue their career in the city where they perform their residency. Expanding residency slots in areas like Southern Nevada will help ensure a steady flow of doctors will meet the needs of our expanding veterans’ population. 

The state must increase its number of physicians by 46 percent just to reach the national rate of 327 doctors per 100,000 people, according to the 2014 physician workforce report from the University Of Nevada School Of Medicine.

The Omnibus bill passed the House by a 419-0 vote. 

The Senate is expected to approve the measure in the coming days and send it to President Obama’s desk.