February 29, 2024
PAs Omitted from Critical Provisions in STRONG Act
February 11, 2022
By Tate Heuer
The Support the Resiliency of Our Nation’s Great (STRONG) Veterans Act of 2022 (HR 6411) was introduced in January by U.S. Reps. Mark Takano (D-CA) and Mike Bost (R-IL). This legislation is intended to give the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) new authorities and resources to support veterans’ mental health and well-being through increased training, outreach, mental health care delivery, and research. Unfortunately, PAs are omitted from critical provisions in the legislation defining which VA mental health professionals are eligible for newly funded training opportunities and scholarships.
PAs provide essential, high-quality health care, including mental health and psychiatry services, to veterans across the VA system. The VA is also the single largest employer of PAs in the United States. The exclusion of PAs in the STRONG Veterans Act language is an oversight that must be corrected by Congress – but it won’t happen without your help.
The Veteran Affairs PA Association (VAPAA) and AAPA Federal Advocacy staff are strongly advocating for Congress to include PAs in this critical mental health legislation to improve access to care for veterans.
Congress needs to hear from all PAs about the importance of inclusion on this, and all healthcare legislation that impacts the PA profession. Take action now and tell Congress to not leave PAs behind!
For more information, contact [email protected].