VA hospital employees picket for greater staffing

Unionized employees of Kerrville (Texas) VA Medical Center rallied outside the facility Wednesday to advocate for filling staffing vacancies at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

The workers are members of American Federation of Government Employees, which has held similar rallies nationwide. Overall, the union is urging the VA to fill vacancies at its U.S. facilities.

"Current staffing levels are creating risks to patient safety and a hazardous work environment to the working people at the VA," a union statement cited by the San Antonio Express-News said.

In response to the rally, the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, of which the Kerrville facility is a part, told Becker's via email the VA had had 35,553 total full-time equivalent vacancies as of Nov. 3.

"The VA's Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated health care system in the nation, and VHA’s vacancy rate is about 9 percent, less than half the vacancy rate for private sector hospitals, which trend near 20 percent. But we're always looking for qualified medical professionals to fill positions that meet patient needs," the email added.  


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