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VA Seeks $17.6 Billion To Hire Additional Clinical Staff, Add Resources

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 03:21:36 +0000

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking $17.6 billion in additional funding to hire 10,000 more clinical staff members and expand its resources following its recent scandal over prolonged wait times for patients.

Speaking before a Senate committee Wednesday, Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said the agency is looking to employ another 1,500 doctors to enhance its services for veterans. Extra medical staff would be divided between primary care, specialty care, and mental health care, and would consist of physicians, nurse practitioners, and other support employees.

‘We understand the seriousness of the problems we face. We own them,” Gibson said. “We're taking decisive action to begin to resolve them. ...I will not hold back for asking for resources because we have not been managing to requirements as a department," he added. "This would never happen in the private sector. You'd never stand for it. You'd fail as a business if you did this."

In an update on the state of the VA, Gibson said the Veterans Health Administration has reached out to more than 160,000 veterans to get them off wait lists and into clinics.

Whistleblowers within the agency have revealed employees routinely falsified wait times and covered up treatment delays that were so long that dozens of veterans died while waiting to see doctors.  

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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