OPEIU Guild 45 Celebrates Major Legislative Victory
The First National Guild of Healthcare Providers of the Lower Extremity/OPEIU Guild 45 is celebrating a major legislative victory with today’s signing into law of the VA MISSION Act*, which includes language that reclassifies podiatrists as podiatric surgeons within the VA Health Administration and puts them in the same pay category as their allopathic and osteopathic peers.
This represents the largest advancement for federally employed podiatrists since 1976 and is the first bill specific to podiatry passed by the United States Congress.
The new law, which OPEIU podiatrists and the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), long fought to make a reality, also addresses recruitment and retention issues within the VA system and will ensure veterans now receive the highest quality in foot and ankle care.
The MISSION bill included language from the APMA’s VA Provider Equity Act, which OPEIU Guild 45 and APMA worked diligently to gain support for over the past several sessions of Congress. In March, a delegation of OPEIU Guild 45 members and APMA officers and staff met with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and urged the inclusion of the VA Provider Equity Act in the Senate’s omnibus spending package. Senator Schumer expressed his support for the bill to us, and although time didn’t permit its inclusion in the spending package, with Sen. Schumer’s support, it was included in the MISSION Act and today became law.
Guild 45 President John A. Mattiacci, DPM, congratulates all Guild 45 members and the APMA on its successful effort to make this important bill a reality. Special recognition goes to APMA President Dennis Frisch, a Guild member from Florida, and APMA staff member Ben Wallner. Without their efforts, today’s victory would not have been possible. As always, OPEIU will continue to support our podiatry members’ efforts to improve the profession and the quality of care it provides patients.
*The MISSION Act (Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018, sponsored by John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka and Samuel R. Johnson).