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Virginia Governor Signs Corpsmen to Civilian Health Care Bill

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NORFOLK (NNS) -- Approximately 20 corpsmen and staff members from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP) attended a historical event June 27, when Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a first-of-its-kind bill which established the Virginia Military Medics and Corpsmen (MMAC) Pilot Program.

The program allows active-duty medical personnel currently participating in MMAC to earn licenses or credentials that are recognized by civilian health care organizations.

"Today we celebrate a milestone piece of legislation that not only serves our veterans and transitioning service members, but it also takes care of a private business -- our health care industry," said McAuliffe. "We can now transition folks into the health care field, which is a field that desperately needs people to come work in. It is a win-win for everybody."

Military medics and corpsmen receive extensive health care training while on active duty. When they transition to civilian life, their military health care experiences may not easily translate into comparable certifications or licenses required for health care jobs. As a result, many veteran medics and corpsmen are unemployed because they cannot apply their skills immediately in civilian health care jobs. 

"Per capita, we have more veterans than any other state in America," said McAuliffe. "One in 10 Virginians is a veteran, and we are doing all that we can to integrate them into our workforce. The medics and corpsmen have real-time field experience, and they are a natural fit into our health care workforce."

Prior to the bill being unanimously passed in the Virginia general assembly, efforts had already been underway to translate veterans' military medical experience into academic credit and shorten the pathway to obtaining various civilian credentials.
However, in health care veterans may still need to spend several years in a college program before they can obtain a credential.

"I have several Sailors who have decided to separate from the Navy this summer, and they would make great candidates for the new program," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Sybil Magrill, leading chief petty officer of the NMCP Critical Care Department.

She pointed out many of the Sailors have intensive care unit (ICU) training and they have extensive medical knowledge, but the qualifications they earned on active duty do not translate to civilian certification. Additional college, potentially two years or more, would need to be completed prior to the military service member being considered for the civilian certification.

"It is refreshing to see the state of Virginia advocating for a vocational program in order to quickly get our veterans into the workforce," Magrill added.

The MMAC Program will be accepting applications from qualified service members by this fall. To learn more, visit http://www.dvs.virginia.gov/ or call the MMAC Program Manager at 804-786-0571.

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