Tuesday December 12, 2017
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Schrader, Moulton Introduce Bill to Prohibit Hiring Freeze at the VASalem-News.com
"Placing this hiring freeze on the VA is an absolutely unacceptable way to treat the men and women who have risked life and limb in the service of our country.”
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Monday, in one of his first acts as President, Trump signed an Executive Order implementing a 90 day hiring freeze across the executive branch, including at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-5) and Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-6) introduced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit any hiring freeze from specifically affecting the VA. Tuesday afternoon, the President’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, doubled down on the hiring freeze specifically at the VA, saying, “I think the VA in particular, if you look at the problems that have plagued people, hiring more people isn’t the answer.”
Reports show that there are thousands of vacancies at the VA nationwide including hundreds of Primary Care Providers (PCP) and nurse practitioner vacancies. “One in twelve Oregonians is a veteran, and roughly one fifth of our vets has a service related disability. That’s a lot of people who need and deserve, often times, immediate treatment,” said Rep. Schrader.
“While I’m always looking for ways to be fiscally responsible, it disturbs me that the President thinks that doing anything to prevent our veterans from receiving necessary care is in anyone’s best interest.
"Placing this hiring freeze on the VA is an absolutely unacceptable way to treat the men and women who have risked life and limb in the service of our country.” "President Trump’s hiring freeze will have a severe and lasting impact on the VA’s ability to care for our nation’s veterans,” said Rep. Moulton.
"All of the progress the VA has made on reducing wait times will come to a screeching halt. The freeze affects all aspects of care from doctors and nurses to schedulers and security guards.
"Anyone who’s spent time at the VA learning about their problems—as I have and the Trump team has not—knows that hiring better people as quickly and efficiently as possible is one of their biggest challenges, even bigger than firing the bad apples.
"It’s telling of President Trump’s character that on day one in the Oval Office he chose to leave our veterans behind. Our veterans deserve nothing but the best care.” Right now in Oregon, there are open vacancies for 12.5 PCPs and 40 medical support staff in the VA Portland Health Care System, including 3.5 PCPs and 6 medical support staff at the Salem Community Based Outpatient Center (CBOC).
The Salem CBOC does not have anyone currently in the hiring process to fill these, and as such, the PCP positions in the state’s Capitol will remain vacant for at least the next 90 days.
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