U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wants only licensed health care providers to conduct medical disability examinations (MDEs) on behalf of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Last week, Rubio paired up with U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., to bring out the “Better Examiner Standards and Transparency for Veterans Act" (BEST for Vets Act) after reports surfaced that physicians with revoked medical licenses were conducting MDEs for the VA.
“Health care providers who have had their medical licenses revoked have no business performing exams on our nation’s veterans, but a loophole in current law allows this to happen,” Rubio said. “This bill closes that loophole and ensures that only health care providers who meet the VA’s requirements are able to treat our service men and women.”
“Our veterans have earned the highest quality care, and it’s unacceptable for the VA to deliver anything less. Our legislation protects veterans from unlicensed medical providers and helps ensure they receive disability examinations from providers they can trust,” Sinema said.
The bill has the support of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
“We are pleased with the introduction of the proposed legislation to ensure that only licensed health care providers furnish disability examinations. We support its swift passage,” said Heather Ansley, the associate executive director of government relations of PVA.
Rubio’s proposal would “prohibit contract health care providers who have had their licenses revoked in any state from carrying out MDEs on behalf of the VA" and make the VA secretary ensure “only licensed health care providers are conducting MDEs" and submit an annual report to Congress on the matter.
The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. So far, there is no counterpart in the U.S. House.