The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently encouraged Veterans Integrated Service Networks and VA Medical Centers to develop or expand relationships with Family Medicine programs, physicians, and trainees. This new focus on such relationships would result in improved ability to achieve VHA’s missions of providing outstanding health care to Veterans, education to health professions, and research to benefit Veterans’ health.
The message pointed out that Family Medicine offers expertise in practice, education, research, and physician leadership in many areas of particular importance to VA, including practice innovations such as patient-centered primary care, comprehensive primary care, and ambulatory women’s health. The message emphasized that stronger relationships with Family Medicine may be of particular value in facilitating VA’s primary care transformation.
VA field leaders were told that they may be receiving correspondence from interested academic affiliates. Expansion of affiliations with Family Medicine was encouraged, and it was noted that Family Medicine training programs may qualify for new funding through the Office of Academic Affiliation’s (OAA) GME Enhancement program.
VA field leaders were also told that in order to build an appropriate faculty base, recruitment announcements for primary care staff physician positions should consider residency-trained, board-certified family physicians. Closer academic engagement and taking advantage of local Family Medicine resources may provide facilities with additional staffing options.
The message concluded with the statement that OAA will work with local educational leadership and Family Medicine national leadership to resolve any barriers that arise.