For more than a year now, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has experienced severe shortages in service and reports of extreme wait times. Despite taking a number of measures to address these delays and shortages, reports of prolonged VA wait times persist.
Based on correspondence with VA representatives, The New York Times reported that “The number of veterans on waiting lists of one month or more is now 50 percent higher than it was during the height of last year’s problems,” per an article published on June 21.
In March, CNN reported that VA wait times had affected more than 12,500 patients in the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Medical Center, the nation's largest VA health care system, where “even new patients … can wait months to see a doctor there.”
“The department is also facing a nearly $3 billion budget shortfall, which could affect care for many veterans,” the Times article added, also pointing out that the ultimate burden has so far been shouldered by healthcare professionals.
Doctors and nurses “have handled 2.7 million more appointments than in any previous year,” the Times article notes, citing “internal department budget documents” showing that physician workloads increased by:
- 21 percent at hospitals and clinics in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina;
- 20 percent in Southern California and southern Nevada; and
- 18 percent in North Carolina and Virginia.
Staff Care Offers VA Staffing Resources to Address Patient Wait Times
“We can’t leave this as the status quo,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson has stated. “We are not meeting the needs of veterans, and veterans are signaling that to us by coming in for additional care, and we can’t deliver it as timely as we want to.”
The strategic use of locum tenens physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners can help meet the challenge posed by these VA wait times and rampant physician workloads. As the nation’s leading provider of locum staffing services, Staff Care offers the expertise and resources to fill VA staffing coverage gaps quickly and efficiently.
Staff Care has the resources, experience and nationwide roster of practitioners necessary to assist VA facilities (and the small businesses that work with them) place temporary healthcare professionals and create short-term strategic staffing solutions. We encourage staffing representatives to reach out to us regarding VA staffing by calling (800) 685-227, or by contacting us here.