Non-Clinical Topics   /   Personnel

Outdated Processes Hamper VHA in Hiring Medical Staff

USM By U.S. Medicine
May 9, 2017

By Sandra Basu

WASHINGTON VHA is hampered by outdated human resources processes, as well as competition from the private sector, when it comes to hiring medical professionals, agency officials told lawmakers.

“We are striving to update not only internal hiring practices, but also open to legislative assistance to reform VHA’s recruitment, compensation, and accountability practices to stay competitive,” explained VHA Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Operations and Management Steve Young. Young made his comments at a hearing held by a House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee on VA’s ability to recruit and retain quality providers.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, (R-OH), DPM, who chaired the hearing, said his subcommittee continues to hear about prospective VA employees who accept jobs elsewhere because the hiring process is “too cumbersome and too lengthy.”

“We have opportunities here to bring excellent doctors in, if we are open-minded about how we go about what we are doing,” Wenstrup suggested.

When it comes to recruitment and retention of medical personnel, Young told the subcommittee that one of the challenges is that “VA has been faced with significant caps on awards for several years, resulting in a limited pool of funds for employee recognition.”

“While these caps were well-intentioned to increase accountability they also result in significant impediments to recruitment and retention in VHA,” he said.

The $230 million cap for fiscal years 2017 and 2018, he explained, “represents a significant decrease in available funding during a time when the market for clinicians is growing increasingly competitive.”

Young also told lawmakers that there is a need to make it easier for individuals to “come into government service.”

He, along with Partnership for Public Service President and CEO Max Stier, pointed out barriers to hiring, such as a lengthy Executive Core Qualification narrative that is required for Senior Executive Service (SES) positions.

Stier pointed out that no private sector employer asks applicants for executive-level positions to write lengthy essays to demonstrate their qualifications, yet this is what the government asks of most applicants for its executive positions.

“They don’t have to fill out huge long essays in any other organization besides the federal government,” he noted. “We have to normalize the process inside the government, if we expect great talent from outside the government to want to come in.”


Related Articles

Despite Overall Longevity Trends, Mortality Increases for Schizophrenia Patients

Since the 1970s, mortality rates have declined, extending average lifespan by almost a decade.

No Link Found Between H. Pylori Infection, Unexplained Anemia

Despite limited evidence to support the practice, testing for Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection is recommended for work-up of unexplained iron deficiency anemia (IDA).


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From department of veterans affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Fibromyalgia Presents Differently in Male, Female Veterans

Research on fibromyalgia, a poorly understood, chronically disabling pain syndrome, generally has focused on its clinical presentation and treatment.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

How Veterans Feel About Remote Management of Their Care

The VA is expanding remote management of patients to improve disease prevention and care.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Stick-on Monitors Help Warn of Heart Failure Exacerbation in VA Study

While implantable devices have shown promise in reducing rehospitalization for heart failure (HF), VA researchers sought to determine if options that are less expensive and non-invasive would have comparable results.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Legislation: Clinicians Must Be Involved in Formulary Design, Purchasing

Legislation to prevent VA from outsourcing creation of its drug formulary and to require more input from medical professions is being considered in Congress.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

GAO: VA Needs Better Planning for ‘Complex’ Appeals System Overhaul

SYRACUSE, NY — Despite limited evidence to support the practice, testing for Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection is recommended for work-up of unexplained iron deficiency anemia (IDA). A study published in the journal Gastroenterology Report sought... View Article

Facebook Comment