Single, uniform standard of care for performing laser eye surgery procedures

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced a new policy providing a single, uniform standard of care throughout the Department for performing laser eye surgery procedures.

“Our Department has no higher priority than to ensure veterans receive the highest possible quality health care at all of our facilities,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi. “This new policy will provide an additional level of safety for our patients who come to us for eye care.”

VA’s new policy states that all therapeutic laser eye surgeries at VA facilities will be performed under the supervision of an ophthalmologist in a manner consistent with Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) standards.

Only optometrists who are fully trained and appropriately licensed will be granted clinical privileges by the department to perform therapeutic laser eye surgery under the supervision of an ophthalmologist.

Presently, Oklahoma is the only state that licenses optometrists to perform laser surgery. VA will continue to evaluate and consider state and national standards of practice as it sets its own standard of care.

VA currently operates 158 hospitals, 132 nursing homes, 42 residential rehabilitation treatment programs, and 854 outpatient clinics. The new policy will take effect immediately at all facilities with the capability to perform laser eye surgeries.

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