Veterans Groups Ask That Members Be Allowed to Join COVID-19 Fight

April 2, 2020 by Dan McCue
The Vietnam Women Veteran's Memorial. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – A pair of veterans service organizations are calling on Congress and the National Governors Association to re-examine the nation’s current medical credentialing system to allow veterans with medical experience to join in the fight against COVID-19.

Both the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and Team Rubicon, a group founded by former Marines, see disaster response as a way to reintegrate veterans back into civilian life, and say they have members with extensive medical experience who could help alleviate strain on hospitals and other public health care providers.

In order to deploy these experts to health care facilities, veterans must be accredited at the state level to provide medical support. However no uniform or nationwide credentialing program currently exists.

“After a decade of mobilizing veterans to utilize their skills in disaster response, Team Rubicon has proven that our military men and women are uniquely trained and experienced for moments of crisis,” said Jake Wood, co-founder and CEO of Team Rubicon.

“COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge, and we should act immediately to credential qualified veterans from medical fields to get them into the fight and decompress strained medical systems,” he said.

Jeremy Butler, CEO of IAVA, agreed, saying he is proud to join Team Rubicon in pushing for the change.

“Veterans with extensive medical training are an untapped resource to help fight COVID-19,” Butler said. “We urge the government to recognize this resource and create a common-sense credentialing program to help get veterans into the fight and help alleviate medical staffing shortfalls across the country.”

The groups are circulating a petition, which can be signed here.

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