- More than 40,000 critical positions, or about one in six, were vacant at the nation's regional VA healthcare systems in mid-July, a USA Today analysis indicated.
- Nine VA facilities have clinical employee vacancy rates over 30%, according to the analysis, which is based on data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
- The data also indicate that more than 5,000 additional physicians are needed across the system.
This bodes terribly for a system under near-constant criticism for the time it takes veterans to get appointments for some services. The VA's overall hiring process gets a lot of the blame from critics, who note it can take months to fill a single position.
"It's a bureaucratic nightmare," Sen. Jon Tester, D-MT, told USA Today. “We do not have to recreate the wheel every time we hire a damn nurse, or psychologist, or a medical director.”