Crow, Meijer Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Streamline Veterans Affairs Hiring Process

May 7, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Reps. Jason Crow (CO-06) and Peter Meijer (MI-03) introduced bipartisan legislation to address severe hiring shortages within the VA by expediting the hiring process for medical professionals. The Veterans Improved Access to Care Act would establish a pilot program to expedite the onboarding of licensed medical professionals at understaffed VA facilities and would require the Secretary of the VA to submit a detailed report on how to best streamline the VA’s hiring process.

Last year, the VA Inspector General for healthcare inspections reported 132 out of 140 facilities reported severe occupational staffing shortages. Additionally, 87% of medical center directors reported a severe shortage of medical officers and 72% reported a severe shortage of nurses.

“When I left the Army, I experienced firsthand the frustration of the VA’s long wait times and bureaucracy. As a veterans’ advocate, I learned just how devastating these delays can be for veterans who can not receive timely care,” said Rep. Crow. “I promised to never turn my back on those that served and this bill is an important first step to finding new solutions to help remedy some of the troubles plaguing the VA. Expediting the hiring process ensures we quickly and efficiently hire medical personnel who provide the medical care our veterans need and deserve.” 

“The pilot program established by this bill, coupled with increased reporting on the VA’s onboarding practices, will be critical in determining the most efficient strategies to address staffing shortages and get more qualified VA medical personnel into facilities without sacrificing the quality of care that our veterans deserve,” said Rep. Meijer. “By choosing facilities in different regions with varied populations, this program will provide the VA with strategies that can be used to benefit all veterans regardless of where they live. This bill has real potential to improve access to and quality of care for the West Michigan veteran population, and I am extremely proud to lead this effort in the House.”

Veterans Improved Access to Care Act would:

  • Create a pilot program to reduce the length of time to onboard VA medical providers to not more than 60 days.
  • Sets conditions for locations chosen for the pilot program:
    • At least 10 locations in regionally diverse areas;
    • Prioritization of areas experiencing hiring shortages of licensed medical professionals.
    • At least 3 locations in areas with fewer than 100,000 people.
  • Requires the VA Secretary to submit to Congress within 180 days:
    • A strategy to reduce the duration of the VA hiring process for medical professionals by half; and 
    • An assessment of how the overall certification of professional medical providers’ credentials can be expedited.