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Department of Veterans Affairs Announcement of Phase II of GME Enhancement VACAA Initiative

On June 15, 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Health Administration (VHA) issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for GME Enhancement for residency positions allocated under the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (VACAA). This legislation, signed into law on August 7, 2014, directs the VA to create 1,500 medical residency positions over five years (for positions beginning July 1, 2015 through 2019), or to ensure that currently established graduate medical education (GME) programs have an adequate number of residency positions. 

The current RFP is the second phase of implementation of the VACAA legislation and will include allocation of up to 325 permanent, base residency positions nationwide in Academic Year (AY) 2016-2017. VACAA specifically targets the following specialties and/or geographic areas for the new medical resident positions:

  • Primary Care
  • Mental Health
  • New Sites for GME
  • Critical Access Needs, which are locations within health professional shortage areas (HPSAs), having a shortage of physicians, or in a program/area where there are delays in Veteran access to care, such as rural areas

These stated priorities and the results from the first year of this program demonstrate the VHA’s Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA) and the VA’s commitment to invest in new GME positions and to build new partnerships, particularly in areas and specialties of great interest to the osteopathic medical education community. The OAA oversees the design, implementation and monitoring of the VA’s GME expansion plan.

In a recent memo to VA medical center leadership, the VA’s Interim Under Secretary for Health Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, expressed strong interest within the VHA for “innovative and creative ideas to expand GME programs.” The memo also stated that the OAA seeks to expand GME by including non-traditional educational entities that are community-based, rural and areas with high concentrations of veterans, and through supporting GME programs with a local hospital and medical school. Furthermore, the memo specifically highlights “Osteopathic Postgraduate Training Institutions, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration-funded Teaching Health Centers, and community-based family medicine residency programs” as new and potential affiliates to expand GME residency programs.

Formal applications in response to this RFP are due August 15, 2015. Please see the RFP document and the data entry and file upload instructions for online submission instructions and more information.

The RFP review process will take place in September 2015, facilities will be notified about the approval or disapproval of their applications in October 2015. Final allocation planning by facilities, VISNs and affiliates will take place November-December 2015 and new residents can begin their training July 1, 2016.

AACOM continues to collaborate with the OAA to facilitate the dissemination of information and resources on this opportunity to the osteopathic medical education community and its GME partners. The OAA offers its assistance to facilitate conversations with local VA facilities and the osteopathic medical education community, as needed. Interested parties should contact Dr. Judy L. Brannen, Judy.Brannen@va.gov or 804-675-5481.

To learn more about VA’s GME expansion plan please visit the following resources:

For additional resources on this initiative, please visit AACOM’s VA GME web page.