What Trump's hiring freeze means for VA healthcare: 6 things to know

President Donald Trump on Monday imposed a federal hiring freeze affecting the short-staffed Department of Veterans Affairs, reports USA Today.

Here are six things to know about the hiring freeze and how it affects the VA.

1. The White House said President Trump imposed the hiring freeze "to counter the dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years and the costs attendant to that expansion."

2. The hiring freeze does not affect the military and other positions regarded as necessary for national security and public safety, reports USA Today. However, White House press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed Tuesday that it does affect thousands of open jobs at the VA.

3. Commenting on the hiring freeze, Mr. Spicer said federal officials wanted to ensure President Trump's pick to lead the VA, current undersecretary for health at the agency David Shulkin, is confirmed, according to the report.

"When you have a system that's not working, and then going out and hiring additional people doesn't seem to be the most efficient way of solving the problem," Mr. Spicer said. "What we need to do, whether it's the VA or any other agency, is make sure that we're hiring smartly and effectively and efficiently."

4. The hiring freeze does not affect hires already in the works before Monday, the report notes. Still, the hiring freeze comes as the VA has posted more than 2,000 job openings on the federal hiring website, including for hundreds of nurses and physicians, reports USA Today.

5. In response to the hiring freeze and Mr. Spicer's remarks, the VA said it planned to take advantage of the hiring freeze's allowances for public safety needs, according to the report.

"The Department of Veterans Affairs intends to exempt anyone it deems necessary for public safety, including frontline caregivers," Acting VA Secretary Robert Snyder said in a statement.

6. Mr. Spicer has noted the hiring freeze is only meant to "pause" hiring until further analysis takes place, according to the report.


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