VA has 49,000 open positions

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has seen a decline in severe staffing shortages but continues to struggle to fill hospital jobs, according to a Washington Post column, which cites a report by the VA Office of Inspector General.

Post columnist Joe Davidson reported that there are 49,000 vacant positions across the VA.

Additionally, the inspector general's report, released Sept. 30, showed 96 percent of VA facilities reported at least one "severe occupational staffing shortage" as of Dec. 31, 2018.

The report said at least 39 percent of the VA's 140 facilities had at least 20 severe occupational staffing shortages, with medical officer and nurse occupations being the most commonly cited with such shortages across the VA.

Although shortages continue, the report found that the overall number of severe occupational staffing shortages declined 12 percent year over year in 2019. The inspector general said the decline "does not mean there was a corresponding reduction in the number of vacancies at [VA facilities], rather that the number of occupations identified as a severe shortage across all facilities has declined."

"However, 8 of the 10 most frequently cited severe occupational staffing shortages in last year's report remained in the top 10 this year," the report stated.

The report primarily attributed severe staffing shortages to lack of qualified applicants and non-competitive salary.

The report states that "medical center directors make approximately 25 percent of a private sector hospital chief executive officer salary yet have a greater scope of responsibility."

Mr. Davidson said political policies are also a contributing factor.

The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act implementation has "demotivated applicants and created barriers in hiring medical center directors," the report said.

Read the full inspector general report here.


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