Thursday, July 17, 2014

V.A. Official Says Fixing Issues at Root of Waiting-List Scandal Will Cost Billions

By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr., NYT
JULY 16, 2014

Fixing the problems that led to the waiting-list scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs will cost $17.6 billion over the next three years, the agency’s acting secretary told lawmakers Wednesday, requiring the hiring of about 1,500 doctors and 8,500 nurses and other clinicians.

The acting secretary, Sloan D. Gibson, told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that the money was necessary to “meet current demand” for medical care for veterans by addressing problems that included “shortfalls in clinical staff” as well as not having enough space in clinics and hospitals to see patients on time.

“We understand the seriousness of the problems we face,” Mr. Gibson said.

The testimony by Mr. Gibson, who is running the department while President Obama’s pick to be the new veterans secretary, the former Procter & Gamble chief executive Robert A. McDonald, awaits a July 22 confirmation hearing, was the first time the department has said how many health care workers it will need to reduce waiting times — and the cost.

(More here.)

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