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Rubio, Sinema Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Veterans From Unlicensed Examiners

Jul 13, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced the bipartisan Better Examiner Standards and Transparency for Veterans Act, or BEST for Vets Act, to ensure that only licensed health care professionals conduct medical disability examinations (MDEs) on behalf of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Historically, reports revealed that contract physicians with revoked medical licenses have performed MDEs on behalf of the VA. Rubio and Sinema first introduced this bill in April 2019, and this version has been updated to account for, and strengthen, the enactment of companion legislation.
“The men and women who have so bravely served our country deserve access to high-quality health care providers through the VA,” Rubio said. “Health care providers who have had their medical licenses revoked should not be able to perform exams on our nation’s veterans, but a loophole in current law allows this to happen. This legislation would strengthen current law and ensure that only health care providers who meet the VA’s requirements are able to treat our service members.” 
“Our veterans have earned the highest quality care, and it’s unacceptable for the VA to deliver anything less,” Sinema said. “Our legislation protects veterans from unlicensed medical providers and helps ensure they receive disability examinations from providers they can trust.”
Specifically, the BEST for Vets Act would:

  • Ensure that medical professionals as defined by current law are the only ones able to perform MDEs on behalf of the VA.
  • Require the VA Secretary take action to ensure that only licensed health care providers are conducting MDEs.
  • Require the VA Secretary submit a yearly report to Congress on: (1) the conduct of the pilot program allowing MDEs to be performed by contract health care providers; and (2) the actions of the Secretary to ensure only contract providers who meet the statutory licensure requirements are conducting MDEs on behalf of the VA.