Coausphs News

PHS Billets at VA

4/13/2017 12:00:00 AM

On April 13, 2017, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced a Memorandum of Agreement was signed to provide the VA with Commissioned Corps officers who will provide clinical care to veterans.  COA applauds the partnership - it is something COA has encouraged for many years.  COA will continue to push for a larger interagency partnership which would allow more Public Health Service officers to work in both clinical and non-clinical, administrative roles in Veterans Health Administration facilities.

PHS officers with questions about the VA agreement should email usphsva@hhs.gov.

Here is the message VADM Murthy sent to active duty Public Health Service officers on April 13:

Fellow Officers,

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 Nation’s 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 nation’s health.  I can’t imagine a group more capable of tending to the health and well-being of America’s 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
VADM, USPHS
Surgeon General

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