It gives me great pleasure to announce a partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to improve the health and well-being of our Nationís veterans.
For more than a decade, there has been interest in developing a partnership between the VA and the Commissioned Corps. I have received many inquiries from officers around the country who have expressed their desire to see such a collaboration implemented. In response to these inquiries and after a careful assessment of the risk and benefits, we began formal discussions with the VA about a year ago regarding establishing a partnership. I am pleased to announce that the agreement has now been finalized.
Under the Memorandum of Agreement with the VA, Commissioned Corps officers will be able to provide direct patient care to veterans in VA hospitals and clinics in underserved communities. These opportunities will not only serve our veterans, but will also allow our officers to augment professional competencies and enhance clinical skills.
The initial agreement is a five year commitment with the potential to be extended. There will be a limited number of officers selected initially with preference given to new recruits. Additionally, steps will be taken to ensure that this collaboration does not compromise our ability to fill essential clinical roles with our agency partners, particularly with the Indian Health Service.
In the weeks that follow, more information about opportunities for a VA assignment will be forthcoming.
As Commissioned Corps officers, we have taken an oath to protect the nationís health. I canít imagine a group more capable of tending to the health and well-being of Americaís veterans than all of you. I know I speak for every officer in the Commissioned Corps when I say that it will be an honor to serve those who have served us.
Thank you for your continued service and dedication to the Commissioned Corps and to the health of our country.
With Corps pride,
Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA