Senator Jon Tester’s push to recruit and retain more doctors at the VA received a boost from a high-ranking VA official today, who voiced his support for the DOCS for Veterans Act during a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing.

“Creating more residencies is the surest way to create a steady pipeline of medical professionals into rural communities and into the VA,” said Tester, Montana’s only member of the Veterans Affairs Committee. “This bill will lead to more doctors training in our VA facilities and ultimately joining the VA workforce.  It will lead to better outcomes for veterans.”

Today the VA has only filled 163 of the 1,500 residency positions authorized by the Choice Act because the current cap on Medicare-funded residency positions is restricting local hospitals and clinics from partnering with the VA to establish these additional residencies.