Lawmakers Question VA's Plans to Hire More Staff

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal lawmakers are casting doubts on the
adequacy of the Department of Veterans Affairs' plans to hire 1,900
additional workers to improve access to mental health care.
Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House committee with
jurisdiction over veterans' issues, said the VA's plans looked like
a knee-jerk reaction to a critical inspector general's
That investigation released two weeks ago found that nearly half
of the veterans seeking mental health care for the first time
waited about 50 days before getting a full evaluation.
VA officials insisted in a congressional hearing Tuesday that
the plans to hire more workers had been in the works for months.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said that hiring
proposal was based mostly upon an increase in patients that has
occurred in recent years.

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