Tester applauds VA for meeting hiring goal, looks to next steps

Department announces it has hired 1,600 new mental health professionals

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it met its goal of hiring 1,600 new mental health professionals by June:

“Every veteran deserves access to the high-quality health care they earned. With so many veterans returning from war with wounds unseen, I’m glad the VA has met its goal of hiring more mental health professionals. Now it’s time to make sure these professionals are working with local care providers and serving veterans no matter where they live so we can live up to our commitments to our fighting men and women.”

The VA announced last April that it would hire 1,600 nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers by June, 2013 as part of an ongoing review of its mental health operations.

Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, recently kicked-off his new subcommittee on government efficiency by questioning the VA’s top health official about the department’s progress toward its highly publicized hiring goal.

At the hearing, Tester also questioned officials about efforts to improve collaboration and information sharing so rural veterans can get the medical services they need closer to home.

Video of Tester’s hearing is available online HERE.