Friday, July 1, 2016

Our Veterans Deserve the Highest Quality Care

Our military veterans put their lives on the line to defend this country and our way of life. In return, we owe them much – including the highest quality and best health care.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Veterans Administration has proposed action that weaken that standard. The South Carolina Medical Association, along with several other medical associations, is calling on you to join physicians around the country in taking action of our own to protect our veterans’ health care.

As you may have heard, the VA last month published a proposed rule that would allow APRNs — nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and clinical nurse specialists — to practice independently within the VA health system. While this doesn't change state scope-of-practice laws for APRNs working outside the VA system, it overrides those laws for care being provided inside the VA.

There is absolutely no question about the value of team-based care, not only to our veterans but also to all of our patients. The physician and every other member of the health care team each brings unique value to patient care, based on his or her education, skills, and training.

No member of the team, however, brings the same skill level and depth of training as the physician. Team-based health care must be physician-led; that is the hallmark of quality care. This central tenet applies both to primary care and specialty care.

Please take a few minutes to tell VA officials that we must maintain physician leadership of our veterans’ health care team. You may:

  • Send comments via the government’s rulemaking website; or
  • Send comments through the American Society of Anesthesiologists' Safe VA Care website.

Click here to view the letter sent by the Coalition of State Medical Societies to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.