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APMA Testifies before VA Health Subcommittee

Monday, May 8, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Andrea Carter
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APMA Testifies before VA Health Subcommittee

May 2, 2017

Today, APMA Treasurer Seth Rubenstein, DPM, and APMA members Steven Goldman, DPM, and Jeffrey Robbins, DPM, testified before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health about the impact physician pay disparity has on veterans' ability to access quality foot and ankle care. Watch their testimony, and take a moment to contact your own legislator to reinforce their efforts. 

Drs. Goldman, Robbins, and Rubenstein testified in support of the VA Provider Equity Act, HR 1058, APMA's legislation to resolve ongoing recruitment and retention issues for podiatrists within the Veterans Health Administration. Archaic policies at the VA written in the 1970s exclude podiatrists from the physician and dentist pay band, making it extremely challenging to recruit and retain experienced podiatric physicians at the VA—and contributing to untenable wait times for our most vulnerable veterans. 

"Today's podiatrists manage the complex nature of foot and ankle deformities and are part of the multidisciplinary team serving the needs of a seemingly ever-growing diabetic population," said Dr. Goldman, who is president of the American Board of Podiatric Medicine and site director for surgical service at Department of Veterans Affairs - New York Harbor Health Care System. "We take call, provide inpatient and outpatient care, respond to emergencies, prescribe medications, and independently perform surgery of the foot and ankle. Fundamentally, we perform a vital role in the continuum of health care equal to other physicians, often for a patient population whose only choice for health care is the VA."

Dr. Robbins, director of the VHA Headquarters Podiatry Service, testified to the growing need within the VA for care delivered by podiatrists. Between April of 2015 and November of 2016, there was a 21-percent increase in VA patients at high risk for amputation. Dr. Robbins attributed that growth to older veterans with multiple comorbidities but also pointed out that there are many young veterans returning to the US from Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation New Dawn "who want to stay active, and especially if they have lower-extremity injuries, they require good podiatric biomechanical care."

"We believe that simply changing the law to recognize podiatry, both for the advancements we have made to our profession and for the contributions we make in the delivery of lower extremity care for the veteran population, will resolve recruitment and retention problems for VA and for veterans," Dr. Rubenstein said. 

APMA continues to champion the VA Provider Equity Act, holding hundreds of meetings with legislators and other physician organizations, including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, to advance the needs of our colleagues at the VA and their most deserving patients. Please visit the APMA eAdvocacy site to send a message to your legislator about this important bill.

Seth Rubenstein, DPM

Dr. Rubenstein testifies before VA Subcommittee on parity for DPMs in the VA.

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The Connecticut Podiatric Medical Association is dedicated to serving its membership through education, public awareness and government representation. The Association promotes the delivery of quality foot care and provides representation to healthcare agencies and national podiatric organizations.

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