VA medical providers have increased Veterans’ access to care

Recruitment effort brings more professionals to VA



There is no greater or noble mission at the Department of Veterans Affairs than to care for the men and women who served our great nation. Providing that care requires an aggressive recruitment effort that spans the country in search of the best and brightest professionals in the medical field. Over the past year, VA has launched a nationwide recruitment campaign aimed finding those who view work at VA not just as a job, but as a career.

VA’s recruitment efforts are multi-faceted, from websites, to television ads, to social media sites such as LinkedIn, to Secretary McDonald personally visiting more than a dozen colleges and universities around the country encouraging students to work for VA.

In addition, VA is leveraging existing relationships, broadening partnerships and increasing incentives to help those in the medical field choose VA. We know that in order to recruit and retain the highest quality medical professionals, VA needs to be competitive with other healthcare systems, and ultimately that is how we provide the best care to our Veterans.

VA appointments completedVA’s medical professionals have made significant progress in providing access to America’s Veterans. In the past year, they completed 2.5 million more appointments than the previous year. As Secretary McDonald told Congress earlier this week, VA is aggressively using technology like telehealth, secure messaging, and e-consults to reach more Veterans. Clinical output has increased 8.5 percent while our healthcare budget has increased only 2.8 percent. That means Veterans are getting care and most are getting care when they want it. In April 2015, VA completed 97 percent of appointments within 30 days of the clinically indicated or Veteran’s preferred date; 93 percent within 14 days; 88 percent within 7 days; and 22 percent on the same day. VA has completed 12 million same-day appointments, which is 20 percent of VA’s total appointments per year.

“At VA, you have the privilege of treating the brave men and women who served our country. And there are many more reasons why you might consider a VA position over private practice. From comprehensive education and training programs to competitive salaries and insurance packages, we’re committed to making sure our physicians are well supported.” Read more about a career at VA vs. private practice.

Consider some key facts on where we are with recruiting and hiring at VA’s medical centers:

  • The turnover rate in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is lower than the private sector: approximately 9 percent in VHA while the private sector healthcare turnover rate estimates of 18 percent as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From April 1, 2014 to April 30, 2015, VHA hired 41,026 employees and, like every health care system or major company, experiences personnel losses due to retirements, resignations, and other reasons on a continuous basis, resulting in a vacancy count that is fluid, and that changes every month.
  • The net onboard increase over the past year was 12,179 employees, or a 4.15 percent increase. This net onboard increase of 12,000 includes more than 1,000 physicians, 2,700 nurses, 4,600 select critical occupations and 3,600 other occupations.
  • The number of vacancies has increased since 10,000 more full time employees were added in the Choice Act. To date, VHA has filled more than 4,000 of the 10,682 positions targeted for Choice Act hiring, approaching 39 percent of the target, and continues to make good progress toward filling these new positions while back-filling newly vacated positions as a result of normal turnover.

Over the past year, Secretary McDonald has worked diligently to engage and recruit health professionals. He has increased salaries for physicians and dentists to close the pay gap with the private sector and to make VA an employer of choice. Also, VA is expanding the loan repayment program, as included in the recently passed Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act. McDonald has spoken to more than a dozen medical schools as well as to the American Medical Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, American Osteopathic Association, and the American Nurses Association meetings, in order to engage our partners, conveying a commitment to them and to VA’s educational and research missions. He’s even reached out directly to recruit potential employees.

The health care recruitment field is fiercely competitive and, as a result, faces similar challenges to our private sector counterparts. Some of those challenges have been reported on by the media and others: the growing national shortage and availability of experienced, quality medical professionals; the salaries typically paid by private industry for similar positions; and other supporting factors such as rural/highly rural locations that may be considered less desirable.

From WWII to today’s conflicts, every Veteran of every generation has a special story to tell and deserves customized attention. VA is committed to hiring health care professionals who can effectively address a variety of needs.

Visit VAcareers.va.gov to learn more about the unique benefits of a career serving our nation’s Veterans.

 

Author

Megan Moloney

— Megan served at VA from May 2013 to July 2018. She is the daughter, granddaughter and spouse of Army and Navy Veterans who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Comments

  1. Robert Sloan    

    One simple question for the VA executives and staff. If the VA does such a great job of of recognizing vet and their needs, “TO CARE FOR HIM WHO SHALL HAVE BORNE THE BATTLE AND FOR HIS WIDOW, AND HIS ORPHAN” A. Lincoln, why do so many 3rd party advocates exist to help the vet fight for his VA rights? The VA should be fighting for the vets rights. Not the other way around. Stop patting yourselves on your collective backs and help us. Don’t stop in VA hospitals to ask vets who are receiving care what they think of your service levels ask the vets out there who give up applying in shear disgust at beating their heads against the absurd bureaucratic wall put up by the VA. Interview vets who try to obtain benefits then give up. Wake up VA.

  2. gerald faul    

    The VA and Our Own Government is a scam. I severed honorably for more than 5 yrs. I’m totally disabled due to multiple herniated discs, dislocation of the spine, dislocations of the shoulder, pinched nerves, torn rotator cuffs, torn knees and severe insomnia. I’m not entitled to any healthcare, disability, unemployment or any other benefits. I am a 46 yr. old white American man that was born, raised in America and have lived here my entire life. I have also never committed any crime.

  3. Paul Deutsch    

    I’ve been waiting for 34 years and I’m still waiting. Every now and then I send a message to VA asking them what’s going on with my claim. Each time I get an automatic reply saying that somebody will respond within 5 business days. BUT NOBODY EVER RESPONDS. My messages just disappear into a deep dark hole called THE VA. There has been NO IMPROVEMENT.

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