VA Funding

Partnering with Your Local VA for Fellow Rotations

The Department of Veterans Affairs is interested in partnering with ACGME-accredited Addiction Medicine fellowships. Once your fellowship has been granted ACGME initial accreditation, you may be eligible to establish a rotation(s) at your local VA that will be funded by the VA for the time that the fellow is training there.

Step 1: Find a VA physician who can supervise an Addiction Medicine rotation.

Step 2: Ask the local VA’s Designated Education Officer (DEO) to apply to the VA Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA) for a “temporary position(s)” in Addiction Medicine. Approval is likely to be granted quickly. Remember, you must first have ACGME initial accreditation.

Step 3: Watch for the next RFP under the “VACAA GME Enhancement” program (usually in the spring). The DEO can then apply under VACAA to make the position permanent (noting on the application that this has already been approved as a temporary position will help secure approval as a permanent position).

Note: You will also need a Program Letter of Agreement for the rotation to comply with ACGME requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How soon can we start the rotation once the temporary position is approved?

A: Immediately upon approval. Remember that an Affiliation Agreement, Disbursement Agreement (with your Salary Grid), and a Program Letter of Agreement must be finalized to start training.

Q: How long does a temporary position last?

A: It will remain in effect through the next VACAA application cycle, when you must apply to make it permanent. VACAA (the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014) authorizes the addition of 1,500 VA training positions. Once a temporary addiction medicine position is made permanent, it will continue past the VACAA termination date and become a “base” position like the others funded by VHA.

Q: What happens if the VACAA application to make the position permanent is not approved?

A: The VA Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA) will try to fund as many positions (for VA rotations) as possible before VACAA funding for new spots is no longer available.  If a program doesn’t meet criteria for permanent funding, it probably won’t meet the criteria for temporary funding (same reviewers are involved in both processes). The most likely reason for disapproval would be an incomplete application (missing letters from local VA leadership or the affiliate DIO). If the program does not receive permanent positions, the local VA DEO may choose to assign any of their vacant positions to the addiction medicine fellowship, temporarily or permanently.

Q: I’m in the process of applying for ACGME accreditation but do not yet have it – is there anything I should do?

A: You can identify a potential VA rotation supervisor and work with them on the training plan so that you are ready to go to the DEO as soon as ACGME issues your initial accreditation.

Q: I have had no prior relationship with the VA – where do I start?

A: Your own GME office should be able to tell you which residency programs already have VA rotations. You can then identify potential sites/services and contact the appropriate VA supervisor to discuss the possibility of having a rotation for an Addiction Medicine fellow. You can also use the VA’s Substance Use Disorder Program Locator (https://www.va.gov/directory/guide/SUD.asp) to identify possible sites and contacts.

For further information, contact:

Anthony Albanese, MD, FACP, DFASAM

Affiliations Officer, VA Office of Academic Affilations (OAA)

Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Addiction Medicine

Clinical Professor of Medicine UC Davis School of Medicine

Ph: (916) 366-5451

e-mail : Anthony.Albanese@va.gov

https://www.va.gov/OAA/Expanding_GME.asp