Tester Takes VA to Task for Prolonging Hiring Freeze - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Tester Takes VA to Task for Prolonging Hiring Freeze

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -

U.S. Senate) – The Trump Administration’s prolonged hiring freeze is hurting Montana’s and America’s veterans and Senator Jon Tester is taking the VA to task over it.

Tester, who is Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is demanding answers from the VA after it released stricter hiring requirements for prospective employees who want to serve veterans. The VA’s new guidelines force frontline managers to jump through additional bureaucratic hoops before hiring new staff, which limits the ability of local VA facilities to address their staff shortages. Under the new guidance, any vacancy must get the approval of an Under Secretary before it can be advertised and filled. 

Tester, joined by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), wrote to VA Chief of Staff Peter O’Rourke:

“In our home states, facilities struggle to meet demand for clinical care, for processing of claims, and even for getting a call answered at a call center. In a climate where VA facilities are having to compete for resources with private providers, it’s critical that VA facilities are not limited or slowed down in their ability to hire positions so that they are truly able to maintain the high quality care necessary to be able to care for veterans. It’s disturbing to think that the VA may be disadvantaging its own facilities in order to push more veteran care into the private sector.”

Tester, Blumenthal, Brown, and Hirono are requesting information in their letter about the VA’s intended outcome of this new, stricter process on hiring staff. The Senators are also asking the following questions:

  • Under this new process, how many days does it take to provide approval, or how much time has been added to the average completion time of a hiring package?
  • How many current vacancies that require a waiver are occupations that have frequent contact with veteran patients or beneficiaries?
  • How are you determining whether veterans are harmed or delayed in getting resolution of their issues based on these new processes?
  • How have you communicated this policy to the field?
  • Have you discussed this guidance with labor representatives?

Tester recently demanded that the VA provide a list of specific things the VA will do, above and beyond current efforts, to address medical and clinical vacancies in Montana. VA Montana still has provider vacancies and too many veterans are getting their care by telehealth only.

Tester also led 164 members of Congress in calling for President Trump to exempt the VA from his hiring freeze shortly after he took office. While the VA heeded his call and exempted certain positions, the VA still suffers from hiring restrictions.

The Senators letter to the VA can be read online HERE.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • BBB warns of mystery shopper scam

    BBB warns of mystery shopper scam

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 12:38 PM EDT2018-04-25 16:38:32 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 12:38 PM EDT2018-04-25 16:38:32 GMT

    Cube survey scammed job seekers out of thousands.

    Cube survey scammed job seekers out of thousands.

  • Body recovered from Yellowstone River identified

    Body recovered from Yellowstone River identified

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 1:06 PM EDT2018-04-24 17:06:25 GMT
    Tuesday, April 24 2018 1:12 PM EDT2018-04-24 17:12:26 GMT

    The body that was recovered from the Yellowstone River on Sunday 4/22/18 has been identified as Harriet P. Wilson, age 42, who has a Billings address. 

    The body that was recovered from the Yellowstone River on Sunday 4/22/18 has been identified as Harriet P. Wilson, age 42, who has a Billings address. 

  • Testicle Festival in Montana shuttered after 35 years

    Testicle Festival in Montana shuttered after 35 years

    Monday, April 23 2018 11:53 PM EDT2018-04-24 03:53:11 GMT
    Monday, April 23 2018 11:53 PM EDT2018-04-24 03:53:11 GMT
    Courtesy: therockcreeklodge.comCourtesy: therockcreeklodge.com
    Courtesy: therockcreeklodge.comCourtesy: therockcreeklodge.com

    The owner of the lodge that hosts the Testicle Festival has decided to end the annual event in Clinton due to the multitude of incidents - including fatal crashes - that have been caused by festivalgoers throughout the years.

    The owner of the lodge that hosts the Testicle Festival has decided to end the annual event in Clinton due to the multitude of incidents - including fatal crashes - that have been caused by festivalgoers throughout the years.

  • Police: Missing 12-year-old Billings girl found

    Police: Missing 12-year-old Billings girl found

    Monday, April 23 2018 9:59 PM EDT2018-04-24 01:59:34 GMT
    Tuesday, April 24 2018 3:23 PM EDT2018-04-24 19:23:29 GMT

    According to Billings police, the missing girl was found Monday night.

    According to Billings police, the missing girl was found Monday night.

  • Update: Mistrial Declared in 2016 Lame Deer Voluntary Manslaughter Trial

    Update: Mistrial Declared in 2016 Lame Deer Voluntary Manslaughter Trial

    Monday, April 23 2018 8:15 PM EDT2018-04-24 00:15:30 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 8:17 PM EDT2018-04-26 00:17:09 GMT

    Update: The trial continued Tuesday for Cary Alden who is accused of killing Dusty Francis in Lame Deer on October 6th, 2016. 

    Five witnesses took the stand Monday and another four took the stand Tuesday. 

    Update: The trial continued Tuesday for Cary Alden who is accused of killing Dusty Francis in Lame Deer on October 6th, 2016. 

    Five witnesses took the stand Monday and another four took the stand Tuesday. 

  • UM student cited for stealing deadly potassium cyanide vial

    UM student cited for stealing deadly potassium cyanide vial

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 7:05 PM EDT2018-04-24 23:05:42 GMT

    An investigation has uncovered how a vial of deadly potassium cyanide went missing from a University of Montana chemistry lab.

    An investigation has uncovered how a vial of deadly potassium cyanide went missing from a University of Montana chemistry lab.

  • UPDATED: Attorney General Jeff Sessions coming to Billings

    UPDATED: Attorney General Jeff Sessions coming to Billings

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 1:57 PM EDT2018-04-25 17:57:07 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 8:59 PM EDT2018-04-26 00:59:31 GMT

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions will travel to Billings, Montana, on Friday, April 27, 2018, to deliver remarks on the drug crisis in America. 

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions will travel to Billings, Montana, on Friday, April 27, 2018, to deliver remarks on the drug crisis in America. 

  • Kelly Clarkson to perform at MontanaFair

    Kelly Clarkson to perform at MontanaFair

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 8:49 AM EDT2018-04-24 12:49:32 GMT
    Tuesday, April 24 2018 11:58 AM EDT2018-04-24 15:58:34 GMT

    She's a three time Grammy-award winner who just recently released her eighth studio album "Meaning of Life" which features the Grammy nominated single "Love so Soft."

    She's a three time Grammy-award winner who just recently released her eighth studio album "Meaning of Life" which features the Grammy nominated single "Love so Soft."

Powered by Frankly

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.