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house Bill H.R. 1367

Does the VA Need to Improve How it Recruits and Retains Physicians and Other Employees?

Argument in favor

Improving the VA’s hiring practices and creating fellowships for employees to get private sector training in their field are commonsense ways for the VA to improve the quality of its workforce.

Tafinzer's Opinion
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03/17/2017
From personal experience I believe there is room for great improvement at the VA. Anything that can improve it should be welcomed. More funding I'm sure is necessary as well.
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Juan's Opinion
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03/17/2017
As a disabled Marine Corps veteran, I know first hand the strengths and weaknesses of the Veterans Administration. Due to the inefficiencies, lack of professionalism and often under qualified medical staff that attended me while at VA medical centers, I chose to have all of my medical procedures handled through private pay physicians. As a single working professional I am fortunate enough to be able to afford this, but this is not OK. I lost my physical abilities to fight for this country and defend her freedoms, the last thing I should have to do is pay for a competent physician to help repair the damage caused.
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Teresa's Opinion
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03/17/2017
Anyone who has a parent dealing with the VA knows there are problems within that system. Dems - if it isnt a good bill, enhance it; do not dismiss it simply because its Rep; there are problems at the VA and veterans deserve better.
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Argument opposed

The problems at the VA weren’t caused by a shortage of quality employees, but rather by a lack of resources. Congress shouldn’t expect better results from the VA without increasing its budget.

Ochoninja's Opinion
···
03/17/2017
I used to work at WLAVA the problem is not the quality of staff but overwork due to staff shortages plus freezes in hiring. We had one engineer for the entire center and we are one of the biggest VA. Our budget kept getting cut and never came in on time leaving many having to purchase supplies ourselves. There are computers that need to be fixed and other obsolete items that are not replaced and all reports are to be put in daily with all reports which must be entered. Trump stated that VA was a disaster but what is he doing about sufficient funding. We had many special programs like PTSD, TBI, schizophrenia etc, PhysicalTherapy, occupational therapy, housing assistance, helping find jobs etc. programs specifically for Veterans problems. If people complain about long waits it is not inefficiency but staff shortages. People blame the last administration but forget that Republicans fought Obama as much as possible so he wouldn't get credit for anything
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Tracy's Opinion
···
03/13/2017
This bill appears to violate the rights of civil servants. There is no explanation as to the need for this bill or why the current laws or regulations need to be altered. I am concerned that this administration will not protect the rights of civil servants and will seek to have only political cronies working in the agencies. As a result, unless there is a damn good reason to change the current system for hiring, demoting, or firing civil servants, I would vote against this bill.
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Lois's Opinion
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03/17/2017
If you want to spend $28 million, then spend it on providing resources to pay better people instead of another layer of paperwork.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house Passed March 17th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 412 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedMarch 6th, 2017

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    From personal experience I believe there is room for great improvement at the VA. Anything that can improve it should be welcomed. More funding I'm sure is necessary as well.
    Like (135)
    Follow
    Share
    I used to work at WLAVA the problem is not the quality of staff but overwork due to staff shortages plus freezes in hiring. We had one engineer for the entire center and we are one of the biggest VA. Our budget kept getting cut and never came in on time leaving many having to purchase supplies ourselves. There are computers that need to be fixed and other obsolete items that are not replaced and all reports are to be put in daily with all reports which must be entered. Trump stated that VA was a disaster but what is he doing about sufficient funding. We had many special programs like PTSD, TBI, schizophrenia etc, PhysicalTherapy, occupational therapy, housing assistance, helping find jobs etc. programs specifically for Veterans problems. If people complain about long waits it is not inefficiency but staff shortages. People blame the last administration but forget that Republicans fought Obama as much as possible so he wouldn't get credit for anything
    Like (98)
    Follow
    Share
    As a disabled Marine Corps veteran, I know first hand the strengths and weaknesses of the Veterans Administration. Due to the inefficiencies, lack of professionalism and often under qualified medical staff that attended me while at VA medical centers, I chose to have all of my medical procedures handled through private pay physicians. As a single working professional I am fortunate enough to be able to afford this, but this is not OK. I lost my physical abilities to fight for this country and defend her freedoms, the last thing I should have to do is pay for a competent physician to help repair the damage caused.
    Like (104)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill appears to violate the rights of civil servants. There is no explanation as to the need for this bill or why the current laws or regulations need to be altered. I am concerned that this administration will not protect the rights of civil servants and will seek to have only political cronies working in the agencies. As a result, unless there is a damn good reason to change the current system for hiring, demoting, or firing civil servants, I would vote against this bill.
    Like (53)
    Follow
    Share
    Anyone who has a parent dealing with the VA knows there are problems within that system. Dems - if it isnt a good bill, enhance it; do not dismiss it simply because its Rep; there are problems at the VA and veterans deserve better.
    Like (43)
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    The VA has needed more drs and nurses and funding for years. That's where our military spending should go.
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    If you want to spend $28 million, then spend it on providing resources to pay better people instead of another layer of paperwork.
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    At the bottom of the page you can click for the full text. The title does still seem ominous, but the bill is sound. Reduce staff shortages, allow individuals to advance without being transferred to management, start programs where undergraduates can develop skills that lead directly to careers, survey exiting staff members (voluntary and otherwise) and report the feedback, and a couple other things that are very house-cleaning type rules.
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    The VA needs better funding!
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    As a former medical social worker, who now works at high school, I know that the VA is very difficult to get into. They do have very high expectations of staff AND an unrealistic workload. Burn out is quick and leads to under performance. The key changes need to be with retention. Smaller caseloads, more support for staff, and more staff to better handle the complexities of the cases. Vicarious trauma is real and can be debilitating. Staff should be able to receive free or extremely low cost support services more than 3-6 EAP visits/phone calls. Self care needs to be promoted, rewarded, and expected to be a way of life when working in that field. And work schedules and caseloads need to be conducive for self care and long term sustainability in that field, for ALL employees.
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    Resources are the problem!
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    “Ultimately, the people who suffer the most from bureaucratic hiring inefficiencies at VA hospitals are the veterans they are here to serve. When attracting highly-qualified candidates is a challenge for Veterans’ Affairs hospitals, access to care, quality of care and wait times for veterans suffer. Streamlining and updating the VA hiring process of doctors and hospital staff is a critical step towards providing our heroes the medical care they have earned and deserve.” I agree. Vote YES on this bill. As a veteran, I'm disappointed that the VA has all these problems. The VA needs a lot of reforms and this would be a step in the right direction.
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    This isn't the problem the VA is struggling with. They need funding. Period.
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    The republican conspiracy theorists need to stop refusing to fund the hire and staffing of doctors! The VA doctor shortage problem has been created by republicans!
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    In Milwaukee we have the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. Our VA hospital! All of the surgeons and specialists and more come from the Medical College of Wisconsin. One of the best institutions in the country! As a Vet I am mostly pleased with the level of healthcare that I receive but as anywhere else you must always press your concernes to any doctor, nurse or staff member that you feel is not understanding you or how you feel! There are plenty of people with private health care that do not push their concerns and feelings on to their providers and wind up having their recovery from illness drawn out or reoccur. I don't! Milwaukee VA is a huge system as they treat Vets not only from all over Wisconsin but upper Michigan and parts of Northern Illinois to include Chicago as well! A top notch spinal cord injury center that treats active duty personnel! The Great Lakes Regional Administrative Center handles disability claims from over 30 states! Yes there are glitches in the system! There always mistakes made in some way! Sometimes you wait a little longer! There are a lot of walking wounded in this country! I wish there were a Milwaukee VA everywhere in the country!
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    Physicians experienced having veterans as patients may understand their terminology/language in turn, may have better result of care for the Veterans.
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    Absolutely. Recent experience with the performance of VA , overloaded with underperformers that rig the data, justifies more authority for the the leaders of the VA to make the organisation work for veterans. They deserve the best.
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    This is only a small portion of what needs to change. This needs to include a large amount of additional resource allocation and funding.
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    How about actually funding the VA at a sustainable level before we drop the hammer on these folks?
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    I've worked at the VA for almost 10 years and am a veteran myself. I would like to propose that the VA should try to hire more veterans than it has even up to this point. No one understands veterans issues like veterans themselves. Many will even say that you can't understand them unless you are a veteran yourself and patients often complain about not being understood well by VA employees whom are not veterans. These interactions with veterans extend all the way from the upper echelon to people in entry level positions, particularly those who encounter veterans either on the phone or face to face. Nevertheless, I recognize the difficulties of filling certain specialties for which applicants as a whole are in short supply as it is. As many veterans also struggle with adjustment issues and finding employment, I think we could kill three birds with one stone, (veteran unemployment, adjustment issues, and VA staff quality improvement) by creating programs for active duty particularly, but also those in the Guard and reserves, (and again, particularly if they were ever activated) that they are informed of before they join the military as an incentive as well as during TAP, (Transition Assistance Program) classes before they are discharged. In addition, combat, wounded, and disabled veterans could continue to get preference in both who is selected for such programs as well as for employment. Such programs could provide additional educational assistance on top of the GI Bill for occupations that are either or both badly needed by the VA or involve direct services to other veterans. They also ideally would guarantee employment for veterans who agreed to the terms of the program, which could require completion of educational and training requirements and may also require that veterans be willing to move if necessary. By the way, veterans are used to such requirements as they must often complete specific trainings in order to make rank and are used to having to relocate. Veterans might also be provided with relocation allowances if required to move. Veterans in such a program would also of course have to meet their own set of obligations as well; namely, completion of educational requirements, attainment of necessary diplomas and/or certificates, and a predetermined minimum period of employment in the VA, which could vary according to corresponding educational benefits and job titles. Failure to meet these obligations could invoke penalties. Veterans in such a program would likely be required to pay back educational costs if they drop out of school. There would be many benefits to such a program, some of which I've already mentioned. In addition, as many veterans have difficulty deciding what direction to go in after discharge, it would give them a clear and straightforward path, which they are often quite used to and prefer. Furthermore, veterans would likely stay on longer with the VA as many have expressed to me that they prefer to work with other veterans rather than civilians. Veterans would likely have fewer readjustment issues and less unemployment. VA services would also likely improve and there would be less turnover and both more satisfied employees as well as patients. Many procedures and processes would likely run more smoothly as veteran patients and employees would likely work better with one another. Treatment outcomes and even disability claims, particularly those seeking unemployability, would likely improve and decrease respectively, as veterans would find more fulfillment in both serving and being served by other veterans.
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