VA Needs $17.6B to Resolve Treatment Delay Issues

Acting Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson has told the Senate VA Committee it will cost $17.6 billion over the next three years to remedy the problems plaguing the VA, including secret wait lists, according to a report in The New York Times.

To help ensure patients are being cared for in a timely manner, Mr. Sloan told lawmakers the VA needs to hire roughly 1,500 more physicians and 8,500 nurses for its facilities across the country. Along with hiring more clinicians, the money would be used to build new facilities, as there is not enough space in VA hospitals and clinics to see the high number of patients that are currently seeking care.

If the dollar estimate provided by Mr. Sloan is signed off on, finding physicians to staff the VA hospitals will be no easy task. According to a recent survey by The Medicus Firm, a physician staffing solutions firm, government employment is physicians' least favorite practice setting, with only 2 percent of physicians saying practicing in a military or government-employed practice appealed to them the most.

"Due to the national physician shortage, combined with a lack of physicians willing to commit to VA employment on a permanent or long-term basis, many VA facilities are forced to rely on [temporary] physician staffing, which further breaks down communication, continuity of care and systematic accountability," said Jim Stone, president of The Medicus Firm, to Forbes.

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Legislation Would Require Firing of VA Employees Who Retaliate Against Whistle-Blowers 

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