Tester Introduces Bill to Address Chronic VA Workforce Shortages

Senator Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Delivery of Care for Veterans

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today introduced a bipartisan bill to address the crippling workforce shortages at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and improve health care delivery for the nation’s veterans.

There are currently 45,000 staff vacancies at the VA. Approximately 38,000 of those positions are responsible for delivering front line care. The VA also faces a high turnover rate of medical staff for higher-paying private sector positions and challenges recruiting qualified staff in rural areas.

Tester’s Better Workforce for Veterans Act will improve the VA’s ability to recruit qualified medical professionals while incentivizing employees to keep working at the VA.

“We must empower the VA to hire the very best doctors, nurses and front line medical staff so this nation can live up to the promises we made to those who served,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Workforce shortages have plagued the VA all across this nation and fixing it requires putting politics aside to do right by Montana’s veterans.”

The Better Workforce for Veterans Act will do the following:

  • Create a VA-wide database for vacant and hard-to-fill positions. 
  • Expand successful partnerships that bring recent graduates, veterans and private-sector employees to the VA. 
  • Cut red tape to allow the VA to hire Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists. 
  • Provide funding and flexibility to hire dynamic regional and local VA leaders. 
  • Survey why employees choose to leave the VA.

“The healthcare field is a highly competitive employment environment, and the Better Workforce for Veterans Act will ensure that the VA is able to go after and hire the best talent available,” said Matt Kuntz, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Montana Chapter. “We are deeply thankful for Senator Tester’s continue efforts to expand and improve the workforce serving Montana’s veterans.”

More information about the Better Workforce for Veterans Act can be found online HERE.