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High Number of Long-Term VA Management Vacancies is Ridiculous

WASHINGTON, DC In order to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) broken management system, Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA) signed on as an original sponsor to the VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act. This bipartisan legislation, which was officially introduced on Thursday, works to address the issue with more than 20 VA medical centers across the country lacking a permanent director.

“It’s ridiculous that we have more than 20 VA medical centers without a permanent director across the country, including James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona,” said Congressman Shuster. “It makes it difficult for these facilities to succeed when there is no permanent leadership, and I strongly support legislative efforts to require the VA to address this problem.”

According to the VA there are more than 20 centers without a permanent director, and some have gone almost two years with interim directors. The James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center has had several different interim directors this year and currently do not have a permanent director. This legislation directs the Secretary of the VA to develop and submit a plan to Congress to hire qualified medical directors at each center without one and to identify impediments causing this problem. The report would be required within 120 days of the legislation’s enactment.

“No business or organization can successfully operate under a revolving door of short-term leaders – especially not one tasked with caring for America’s heroes,” said bill sponsor Congressman Mike Bost (R-IL).  “At a time when restoring accountability and leadership at the VA is a primary focus, we can’t afford to continue operating in this haphazard way.  As a veteran myself, it’s my duty to do my part in providing the stability necessary to ensure our veterans receive the care they deserve.”

“There are wonderful people working hard for our veterans at the VA, and they need permanent leadership,” continued Shuster. “It’s a problem in Altoona and clearly a problem elsewhere. I hope this can get the VA to address these issues and do what’s best for our veterans.”

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