IMMEDIATE RELEASE





Press Release

August 25, 2004

No. 04-041


Contact:
Mokie Porter

(301) 585-4000
Ext. 146

 
New VA Policy on Laser Eye Surgery
Puts Veterans' at Risk
 


(Washington, D.C.) – The VA’s newly announced policy permitting laser eye surgeries to be performed by optometrists at VA facilities “is inconsistent with the VA’s stated priority to ensure that veterans receive the highest possible quality health care,” said Thomas H. Corey, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). 

“This new policy loosens and lessens the standards of who can perform this delicate surgery,” Corey said. “ Optometrists are highly competent at examining and treating certain visual defects by methods that do not require license as a physician, but that does not make them qualified to do eye surgery.  If optometrists want to perform this surgery,” Corey added, “VVA encourages them to attend medical school and become ophthalmologists. 

“For the VA to choose to allow optometrists to perform laser surgery is short-sighted and wrong-headed,” Corey said.  “Rather than being a benchmark for improved health care, it will succeed only in putting veterans at risk. VVA calls on the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to reverse this erosion of the standard of care provided to our nation’s veterans.”

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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