Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Walden bill to unburden VA doctors and improve care for Oregon veterans passes House

July 24, 2017
Press Release

Walden bill to unburden VA doctors and improve care for Oregon veterans passes House

Legislation co-authored by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) would introduce medical scribes into VA system to help process paperwork

Click here or on the image above to view Walden’s remarks 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a plan co-authored by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) to improve the care Oregon’s veterans receive at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Walden worked with House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman, Dr. Phil Roe, to introduce the VA Medical Scribes Pilot Act of 2017. Walden’s legislation would implement a pilot program for medical scribes at VA facilities, which will help unburden VA doctors and allow them to see more patients.

“Good news for Oregon veterans: the House passed legislation I co-authored with Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Dr. Phil Roe, that will allow veterans’ doctors to do what they do best -- spend more time taking care of veterans,” said Walden. “This legislation sets up a pilot program to try something that has worked successfully in the private sector -- having scribes work side-by-side with doctors, so that doctors can focus on the patient and scribes can focus on the paperwork.”

Medical scribes help relieve physicians of administrative burdens such as paperwork and record keeping, which helps doctors focus their attention on caring for patients. Studies have shown that the use of medical scribes in the private sector resulted in a 59% increase in the number of patients physicians see per hour.

Walden has heard from officials at both the White City and Bend VA facilities, and veterans themselves, that implementing a scribes program will help improve the care Oregon veterans receive. Walden’s legislation will also help retain quality VA doctors, and recruit new physicians into the VA process. 

Charles Schmidt, Oregon’s first National Commander of The American Legion, said of Walden’s legislation, “the VA Medical Scribes Pilot Act of 2017 would greatly assist VA doctors in the course of their duties by providing medical scribes to alleviate their administrative burden.  This would enable VA doctors to see more veterans per day and spend more time with each patient.  Providing doctors medical scribes would help the VA improve the work environment, reduce physician burnout, and recruit and retain quality physicians."

The VA Medical Scribe Pilot Act of 2017 passed the House on a bipartisan vote and now awaits action in the Senate. To read more about Walden’s legislation, please click here.