The Federal Affairs Secretariat meeting in Washington, D.C., in January focused on a major issue the Academy will continue to tackle this year: the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to establish national standards of practice for nonphysicians.
Last year, the VA began releasing national standards for some 50 health care occupations, including optometrists, physician assistants and nurses. The Academy wants to ensure the VA gets appropriate input on these standards, also known as the Federal Supremacy project.
See the reasons why Marybeth C.K. Farazdaghi, MD, believes ophthalmology training at the VA should matter to YOs.
The Academy is working with the American Medical Association, the American College of Surgeons and other physician groups to push for a more transparent process. We’ve also educated members of Congress and their staff about the project and how it could affect health care for the nation’s veterans.
The Academy is encouraging young ophthalmologists, fellows and attendings who work at a VA facility to prepare to contact the agency and comment on its plans. Once the window for comments opens, anyone with a VA badge will be able to provide feedback.
No one knows when the window will open, so we must be ready to act when the green light is given. If we organize beforehand and have conversations with other physicians or staff at the VA, it will be easier to quickly provide feedback.
Academy CEO Stephen McLeod, MD, urged the group to coordinate their responses and develop a process to spearhead this effort. This may involve drafting sample letters that residents or fellows can use with their own personal anecdotes of what it is like to train at the VA.
If you are a resident, fellow, or YO who has trained at a VA and wants to write an opinion piece or create a short one- to three-minute video about what it means to provide care for our veterans and the experiences you got from the VA, now is the time to contact the Academy.