Future Veterans Healthcare

Discussion in 'General Medical' started by Yamabushi, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Yamabushi

    Yamabushi New Member

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    > Veterans deserve more than lip service from candidates
    > NASHVILLE - How would you feel if your father walked
    > into the Veterans Administration Hospital for laser
    > eye surgery and found out a non-surgeon would be doing
    > the procedure?
    > That's a very real prospect facing veterans who rely
    > on the Veterans Healthcare System for their medical
    > care.
    > That's because, under a recently adopted directive,
    > the VA allows optometrists - who study for four years
    > at accredited optometry schools but do not attend
    > medical school or complete a hospital residency or
    > surgical training - to perform laser eye surgery under
    > the supervision of an ophthalmologist.
    > An ophthalmologist is an eye care professional who
    > attends school for 12 years, including four years of
    > medical school, a yearlong internship and three more
    > years of specialized medical training. Typically an
    > ophthalmologist must complete between 9,000-12,000
    > hours of education and training before undertaking
    > unsupervised procedures.
    > During back-to-back visits to Nashville to address the
    > American Legion National Convention, both President
    > Bush and Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential
    > nominee, underscored their commitment to ensuring
    > veterans receive quality healthcare. Bush drew a
    > standing ovation from the crowd when he pointed out
    > that funding for VA medical care has increased 41
    > percent since he took office nearly four years ago.
    > Not to be outdone, Kerry also touted his support of
    > additional funding for VA hospitals during his tenure
    > in the senate. He also vowed to improve access to
    > healthcare at VA facilities.
    > However, neither candidate addressed this very real
    > issue that is affecting the quality of life for
    > veterans every day. A botched laser surgery can have
    > permanent negative consequences. That's a fine way to
    > say thank you very much to the men and women who have
    > proudly defended our nation from enemies both at home
    > and abroad.
    > Several veterans' service organizations have publicly
    > denounced the policy. Vietnam Veterans of America
    > National President Thomas H. Corey calls it
    > "short-sighted and wrong headed" and says it will
    > "succeed only at putting veterans at risk." The WVA is
    > calling on the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to
    > "reverse the erosion of the standard of care provided
    > to our nation's veterans."
    > The Military Order of the Purple Heart, USA has also
    > passed a resolution opposing the standard of care.
    > Members agreed that "the new VA policy represents a
    > step backward in regard to veterans' safety."
    > In theory, optometrists are supposed to perform laser
    > eye surgeries "under the supervision" of an
    > ophthalmologist. However, exactly what "under
    > supervision" means is unclear. If in fact it means
    > literal supervision, why can't the ophthalmologist
    > perform the surgery to begin with? That would free the
    > optometrist to do what he or she is qualified to do
    > -vision examinations and dispense eyeglasses or
    > contact lenses. This would seem to be a much more
    > efficient use of medical resources for the VA, which
    > in turn would lead to better patient care.
    > The American Legion deferred action on a resolution to
    > address the discrepancy in vision care pending further
    > review by staff. A spokesman says the group will take
    > the matter up again when they meet in October in
    > Indianapolis.
    > The veteran vote is considered critical in this year's
    > presidential election. Although questions about
    > Kerry's Vietnam service and Bush's views on whether
    > the war on terrorism is winnable have dominated much
    > of the recent election coverage, it's important to
    > look beyond the smoke and mirrors and see where the
    > candidates stand on real issues that matter to voters.
    > The current war is producing a new generation of
    > veterans. Many of them will have no other option for
    > medical care except what is offered at VA facilities.
    > These men and women have given selflessly of
    > themselves in first class service to their country.
    > They don't deserve second-rate healthcare when they
    > return home.
    > (EDITOR'S NOTE: Mary Perren is the Tennessee
    > Correspondent for Metro Source, a division of Westwood
    > One Communications. She can be reached at
    > [email protected].)
    > ┬ęThe Tullahoma News 2004

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