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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has roughly 49,000 vacancies in its workforce. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie announced to Capitol Hill that the VA is combating this shortage by offering financial incentives to prioritize hiring professionals in mental health, women’s health, and primary care.

Wilkie chose to focus the agency’s hiring efforts on mental health, women’s health, and primary care because they are of the greatest demand in VA facilities. Each health care facility is in need of access to same-day mental health appointments and the population of female veterans is continuing to grow. An increase in the need for primary care professionals is being driven by newer veterans who are used to receiving urgent care.

With a tough labor market, the VA is offering financial incentives including relocation, bonus pay, and increased salaries. The VA has purchased commercial human resource management software so that the agency can better monitor openings within their workforce.

Although 49,000 job vacancies is a concerning statistic, Wilkie is most concerned about wait times and their need to be reduced across the entire VA delivery system. Wilkie also outlined his vision of what the VA should aspire to achieve by 2030: a system that is easy to navigate and easy to enter as veterans’ needs change and new needs arise. The VA should also aspire to adapt to demographics of veterans as those demographics continue to change.

To learn more about how VA secretary Robert Wilkie is prioritizing job vacancies by offering financial incentives, visit here.

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