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New VA pilot program to fund prior Corpsman / Medic training to become PAs

New VA pilot program to fund prior Corpsman / Medic training to become PAs

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched a new pilot program to pay for former members of the Armed Services to train as PAs in exchange for a period of obligated employment at the VA.


Please see attached from the Federal Register in October 2021, as it provides for the opportunity for veterans who gained medical experience while in the military, or who have educational training around health care, or otherwise participated in health care delivery to train as a PA. The program is titled "Educational Assistance for Certain Former Members of the Armed Forces" (EACFMAF), and would provide for tuition, books, and other expenses while in school.


This could be an excellent opportunity for Corpsmen and other military medics who wish to continue their professional military education and to continue to serve our country and its veterans outside of the Armed Services. While the VA already has already provided other opportunities for training as a PA, such as the Health Professional Scholarship Program, the EACFMAF extends eligibility to more veterans.


Note that, as a pilot program, the EACFMAF will expire if not renewed after five years (2026).


 PAs serve veterans in the VA healthcare system


VA PA Employment Brochure:



The VA also offers postgraduate fellowships for PAs in Emergency Medicine, Mental Health, and other disciplines.


Please see final ruling from the Federal Register attached. Summary reprinted below.


You may find therein the point of contact if interested.



From the Federal Register Vol. 86, No. 194, Tuesday, October 12, 2021

§ 17.535 Purpose.

The purpose of §§ 17.535 through 17.539 is to establish the Educational Assistance for Certain Former Members of the Armed Forces (EACFMAF). The EACFMAF will provide a scholarship to certain former members of the Armed Forces for the education and training leading to employment as a VA physician assistant.


§ 17.536 Eligibility.

  1. Military and Training requirements. An individual is eligible to participate in the EACFMAF if such individual is a former member of the Armed Forces who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable and meets one of the following criteria:
    1. Has medical or military health experience gained while serving as a member of the Armed Forces;
    2. Has received a certificate, associate degree, baccalaureate degree, master’s degree, or post baccalaureate training in a science relating to health care; or
    3. Has participated in the delivery of health care services or related medical services, including participation in military training relating to the identification, evaluation, treatment, and prevention of disease and disorders.
  2. School and Individual requirements. To be eligible for the EACFMAF, an applicant must:
    1. Be unconditionally accepted for enrollment or be enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited school located in a State;
    2. Be pursuing a degree leading to employment as a physician assistant;
    3. Be a citizen of the United States; and
    4. Submit an application to participate in the Scholarship Program together with a signed agreement as specified in § 17.538.


§ 17.537 Award procedures.

  1. Priority. In awarding EACFMAF, VA will give priority to eligible individuals who agree to be employed as physician assistants in a VA medical facility that:
    1. Is located in a community that is designated as a medically underserved population under 42 U.S.C. 254b(b)(3)(A);
    2. Is designated by VA as a medically underserved facility; and
    3. Is in a State with a per capita population of veterans of more than five percent, according to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics and the United States Census Bureau.
  2. Amount of funds. VA will provide a scholarship to individuals who participate in the EACFMAF to cover the costs of such individuals obtaining a master’s degree in physician assistant studies or similar master’s degree for a period of one to three years. All such payments to scholarship participants are exempt from Federal taxation. The payments will consist of:
    1. Tuition and required fees;
    2. Other educational expenses, including books and laboratory equipment.


§ 17.538 Agreement and obligated service.

  1. Agreement. Each eligible individual who accepts funds from the EACFMAF will enter into an agreement with VA where the eligible individual agrees to the following:
    1. Maintain enrollment, attendance, and acceptable level of academic standing as defined by the school;
    2. Complete a master’s degree in physician assistant studies or similar master’s degree; and
    3. Be employed as a full-time clinical practice employee in VA as a physician assistant for a period of obligated service for one calendar year for each school year or part thereof for which the EACFMAF was awarded, but for no less than three years.
  2. Obligated service—
    1. General. An eligible individual’s obligated service will begin on the date on which the eligible individual begins full-time permanent employment with VA as a clinical practice employee as a physician assistant, but no later than 90 days after the date that the eligible individual completes a master’s degree in physician assistant studies or similar master’s degree, or the date the eligible individual becomes licensed in a State and certified as required by the Secretary, whichever is later. VA will actively assist and monitor eligible individuals to ensure State licenses and certificates are obtained in a minimal amount of time following graduation. If an eligible individual fails to obtain his or her degree, or fails to become licensed in a State or become certified no later than 180 days after receiving the degree, the eligible individual is considered to be in breach of the acceptance agreement.
    2. Location and position of obligated service. VA will publish a list of VA medical facilities where the participants may perform their period of obligated service in a notice in the Federal Register on a yearly basis. Participants of the EACFMAF may select their preference for service from this list to serve the period of obligated service. VA reserves the right to make final decisions on the location and position of the obligated service. An eligible individual who receives an EACFMAF must be willing to relocate to another geographic location to carry out their service obligation.


§ 17.539 Failure to comply with terms and conditions of agreement.

  1. Participant fails to satisfy terms of agreement. If an eligible individual who accepts funding for the EACFMAF fails to satisfy the terms of agreement, the United States is entitled to recover damages in an amount equal to the total amount of EACFMAF funding paid or is payable to or on behalf of the individual, reduced by the total number of obligated service days the individual has already served minus the total number of days in the individual’s period of obligated service.
  2. Repayment period. The eligible individual will pay the amount of damages that the United States is entitled to recover under this section in full to the United States no later than one year after the date of the breach of the agreement.




Ari Doucette

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