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VA hospital employees protest unfilled vacancies

Veterans Affairs hospital employees have been staging protests across the country demanding that the department fill 49,000 vacancies immediately to ensure veterans receive the care they need.

Veterans Affairs hospital employees have been staging protests across the country demanding that the department fill 49,000 vacancies immediately to ensure veterans receive the care they need.

“Working people at the VA are struggling to do their jobs while staffing shortages are at near dangerous levels," American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr., said, adding, "And Congress is busy self-congratulating themselves for making it easier to fire civil servants at the VA – one-third of whom are veterans themselves. Veterans around the country are being forced to wait longer for care.”

One of those protests occurred at the Denver VA Medical Center, where nearly 600 vacant positions are clinical staff such as doctors and nurses to administrative and support positions, leaving employees overworked and veterans with longer wait times to get treatment, according to AFGE.

Bernard Humbles, president of AFGE Local 2241, said, “Our employees are becoming very frustrated...I've had some that just say 'I'm done,' and leave because of the overwhelming workload. We need to fill these positions.”

Even though the Denver VA hospital acquired 800 new employees in 2016, 600 of those people have already left because of understaffing and low pay compared to private hospitals.

The protests, which have been going on for the past few weeks, have resulted in two bills being introduced in Congress to fully staff the V A— S. 1723 introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and HR. 3459 introduced by Rep. Anthony Brown (D- Md.).

AFGE is urging Congress to pass both bills.

Reader comments

Tue, Sep 12, 2017

Seems POTUS has forgotten his campaign promises to provide better device to veterans---where are the $$$ going resulting from the hiring freeze? Would be
worth looking into---I don't veterans would like the answer

Mon, Sep 11, 2017 Russ GA

Fire every VA Political Appointee below the Sec/VA, and every SES, agency/ Administration wide. Start all over again. Give new Managers/Directors/executives six months to totally turn around the VA, or loose their jobs. Keep this up till the VA is fixed.

Mon, Sep 11, 2017

give me a break..i'm now retired from the va.when i started it was a 500 bed hospital/120bed nh/60 inpatient substance abuse beds.when i retired 6yrs ago...the total bed capacity was 246beds---no inpatient sub abuse and almost 45 social workers vs the 25 when i started in 1987.

Mon, Sep 11, 2017 SamG Northeast

As this article points out 800 VA workers were hired durin 2016 in Denver and 600 of theose hired have quit already. Low pay and poor benefits package is not the way to attract and to retain good qualified medical personnel. Congress created the VA hospital system decades ago as a way of keeping the medical care costs down.

Mon, Sep 11, 2017

This is not a sudden concern. Don't make it a political stance when the VA has not put the Veterans first with regards to the veteran's healthcare and hiring compotent veterans at the VA facilities. Why was it only 1/3 veteran employed servants? As a veteran, the VA needs accountability ... Now- how about Bernie and the other compadre take a stance of accepting the health plans that was forced upon us a regular citizens? Address that before you touch the VA..... Don't use us as a means to increase the number of veteran claims in every VA Townhall meeting .... By the way- why don't you address the problems with vets waiting months to see a Va Doctor? This was something that Was not during the 2017 Administration .... It has been a problem that you didn't address... until now... You want to discuss the VA Hospital.... Get real Bernie and the others... The VA is turning into another welfare systems that no one wants to talk about or even be real about it... I see it as a veteran and it is an unknown to the regular citizen.

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