H.R.1848 – Veterans Affairs Medical Scribe Pilot Act of 2017

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Week ending July 28, 2017

H.R.1848 – Veterans Affairs Medical Scribe Pilot Act of 2017


‘H.R. 1848. The Veterans Affairs Medical Scribe Pilot Act of 2017 would create a two-year pilot program under which VA will increase the use of medical scribes in emergency department and specialty care settings at 10 VA medical centers. To provide transparency on staffing methodology for medical scribes at the Department, this pilot would have half of the participating scribes be employed by the Department, with half employed under contract with a private-sector provider of medical scribes.

Under this legislation, VA would be required to report to Congress every 180 days regarding the effects the pilot program has had on provider efficiency, patient satisfaction, average wait time, the number of patients seen per day and the amount of time required to train an employee to perform medical scribe functions under the pilot program. A report from the Comptroller General is also required not more than 90 days after the conclusion of the pilot.

Medical scribes have proven to be particularly useful for increasing physician productivity and satisfaction in fast-paced clinical environments such as the emergency department and specialty care settings. Medical scribes are trained on privacy considerations and how to swiftly and accurately navigate and enter data into a patient’s health records before being assigned to a physician. Once appropriately trained, the scribe then follows the physician during his patient interactions, carefully documenting each encounter.

‘Under the bill, CBO estimates that VA would need to hire 40 medical scribes (20 term employees and 20 contractors) in 10 medical centers. CBO expects that the pilot would run from the middle of fiscal year 2018 through the middle of fiscal year 2020 and that the GAO report would be completed in 2020.’  – cbo

 (Full text of H.R. 1848 at congress.gov)

SponsorRep. Roe, David P. [R-TN-1] (Introduced 04/03/2017)

Status: Passed House /



On Passage: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote

House Amendments:

Motion to recommit:

Text of the motion:


On Passage:

Procedural Actions:

Senate Amendments:


Cost to the taxpayersCBO estimates that pay and benefits for a medical scribe would be roughly $48,000 in 2018. After incorporating the effects of inflation, CBO estimates that implementing the two-year pilot program and preparing the required reports would cost $5 million over the 2018-2022 period; that spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.

Pay-as-you-go requirements:      Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

Regulatory and Other Impact: Data not available

Dynamic Scoring:   CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1848 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.

Tax Complexity:  Not applicable to this bill.

Earmark Certification:  Data not available

Duplication of programs: Pursuant to section 3(g) of H. Res. 5, 114th Cong. (2015),the Committee finds that no provision of H.R. 1848 establishes or reauthorizes a program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of another Federal program

Direct Rule-Making:  Pursuant to section 3(i) of H. Res. 5, 114th Cong. (2015), the Committee estimates that H.R. 1848 contains no directed rulemaking that would require the Secretary to prescribe regulations.

Advisory Committee Statement: No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act would be created by H.R. 1848.

Budget Authority: Data not available

Constitutional Authority:   Assumed.


More Bill Information:


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