VA develops national standards for health care professionals

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The Department of Veterans Affairs published its first of 50 draft national standards of practice in the Federal Register June 30, for Blind Rehabilitation Specialists and Visual Impairment Services Teams Coordinators.

National standards of practice are a standardized set of services that all health care professionals in a given occupation can perform within VA, regardless of what is permitted by state licensure, certification or registration, per Authority of VA Professionals to Practice Health Care.

“VA is undertaking a multi-year endeavor to develop national standards of practice for each of its 50 health care professions to ensure the continued safe, high-quality care for our nation’s Veterans,” said Deputy Under Secretary for Health Performing the Delegable Duties of Under Secretary for Health Steven Lieberman, M.D. “These standards will ensure VA health care professionals are able to deliver services in regions other than where they may be licensed, registered, certified or limited by a state requirement, so Veterans can get the care they need, when they need it.”

The proposed national standard of practice for Blind Rehabilitation Specialists is consistent with the four national certifications from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals; therefore, Blind Rehabilitation Specialists will continue to practice in VA as set by their national certification.

There is no national or state license or certification for Visual Impairment Services coordinators. They will adhere to the national standard for the occupation in which they hold a license, certification or registration.

The development of national standards of practice enables VA to move health care professionals seamlessly throughout the organization. Further, national standards will support VA health care professionals practicing across state lines and creates standardized practice and business operations across VA medical facilities. 

VA is using a robust, interactive development process for these national standards that includes consultation with internal and external stakeholders, including state licensing boards, VA employees, federal labor partners, professional associations, Veteran Service Organizations, and others.

VA will share all draft standards on the Federal Register. Veterans, the public, professional associations and medical leadership are welcome to provide their comments during the 60-day posting period. VA employees will have a separate, internal mechanism to provide comments during the 60-day posting period. Comments will be reviewed and considered before VA finalizes each national standard of practice. Information pertaining to timing of all VA national standards and hyperlinks to the appliable commenting platform can be found on the National Standards website.

The final national standards of practice will be approved by VA leadership and published as an appendix into a new Veterans Health Administration policy. The policy will establish basic principles that apply across all national standards of practice, including oversight, reporting, implementation, training, and recertification.

VA values input and feedback from the VA workforce and external stakeholders. Please visit the National Standards website for additional information and to subscribe to the newsletter.   

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