VA To Fire 10,000 Employees Following $11 Million Dollar Scandal

The VA is under fire after a damning report revealed the department is trying to rid itself of almost 10,000 staff members while trying to keep the lid on a multi-million dollar scandal. 

VA Under Fire

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In a massively controversial move, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has started laying off frontline healthcare workers – despite multiple previous promises to protect these jobs.

US Department of Veterans Affairs Lays Off Healthcare Workers

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A deep dive by CNN, including documents and interviews with over 20 VA employees and job applicants, paints a clear picture of what’s happening behind the scenes.

Key Roles Affected

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The layoffs are hitting key roles like psychologists, clinical social workers, and other frontline caregivers.

Major Budget Shortfall

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These cuts are part of a larger plan to solve a major budget shortfall – the VA is aiming to trim the workforce by around 10,000 roles.

Experts Warn

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Experts argue that these cuts couldn’t come at a worse time, as veterans are already facing long wait times for services. On top of this, the suicide rate among veterans is already very high.

Multi-Million Dollar Bonus Scandal for Top VA Executives

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Adding to this controversy is a multi-million dollar scandal involving top VA executives. Allegedly, the VA paid its senior executives over $11 million in improper bonuses last year, according to a May inspector general report.

Damage Control

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VA Secretary Denis McDonough has since canceled these bonuses and started trying to recover the funds, but the damage is done.

Quality of Care at Risk

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Just last year, the VA was on a hiring spree, adding tens of thousands of employees to keep up with the surge in veterans seeking care. Now, the sudden cuts have left many insiders worried that the quality of care will suffer.

Lawmakers React

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Lawmakers are also concerned. Reports have also surfaced that job offers for direct-care positions have been canceled, prompting a flurry of requests for clarification from the VA.

Reassurances from The VA

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VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal has been trying to reassure everyone with memos stating that hiring will continue for vital roles, especially those related to patient safety and critical areas like suicide prevention and homelessness. However, he also mentioned that some administrative and non-essential clinical positions could be on the chopping block.

Uncertainty Over Frontline Positions

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But how many of these frontline positions will actually be saved? That’s still unknown.

Strategic Hiring

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VA spokesperson Terrence Hayes insists that while the VA is hiring strategically in key areas, the agency already has enough staff to meet veterans’ needs.

Capitol Hill Criticism

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The staffing shakeup has also sparked criticism on Capitol Hill. In April, the top senators on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs criticized the staff reduction plan as chaotic. They have called for the VA to provide detailed information on employee vacancies and how the cuts might affect care.

Veteran Care at Stake

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Dr. Harold Kudler, a psychiatrist with decades of experience serving veterans, is confused by the decision to cut frontline positions. “It’s very simple. If you remove access to expert care – if you remove access to the largest suicide prevention program in the country, if not the world – then that’s not good for veterans,” he said in an interview with CNN.

Suicide Prevention Concerns

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This concern is backed by a Government Accountability Office report from February, which noted that veterans have a suicide rate significantly higher than the general population.

Budget Challenges

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VA Secretary McDonough – while addressing the staffing cuts at a Senate hearing in May – acknowledged the tough budget choices but insisted that the VA’s employee retention is at historic highs. He assured people that the VA would continue to fill positions based on clinical need.

Ongoing Struggles

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Despite these reassurances, a recent Government Accountability Office report highlighted ongoing challenges in providing timely care – with many VA facilities still struggling to schedule mental health appointments promptly.

Stakeholders Worry About Momentum

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Stakeholders are worried that the reduction in health workers could jeopardize any momentum for improving care.

Union Concerns

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Jeff Shapiro, president of the VA council for the National Federation of Federal Employees union, stated, “Any reduction in staffing, particularly in critical areas like mental health and primary care, poses significant risks.”

Complex Situation

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The situation at the VA is complex and will require a lot of work to solve the many issues facing this arm of the government.

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The postVA To Fire 10,000 Employees Following $11 Million Dollar Scandal first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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