Feb 10, 2016 - Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald told lawmakers Wednesday that his agency is having trouble filling vacancies at VA medical centers around the country, which has led to “critical staffing problems” at the facilities.
McDonald said applications to the VA are down as much as 75 percent since problems uncovered at the Phoenix VA two years sparked probes that revealed systemic problems at the agency nationwide, leading to the resignation of a secretary.
It also comes as the health care industry as a whole faces shortages of medical personnel and struggles to fill openings.
“The issue you mentioned with vacancies is one of the biggest issues we face, if not the biggest issue we face,” McDonald said in response to a comment from Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana, on shortages of doctors, nurses and administrative staff.
VA reports showed that 12.1 percent of jobs at agency medical centers nationwide were unfilled in late January. The numbers were even higher in Arizona, were an average of 14.9 percent of the jobs at the three medical centers in the state were vacant.
When employment at Veteran Health Administration offices was included, those vacancy rates jumped to 12.9 percent and 16 percent, respectively. read more>>>