Acting VA Chief: Fixing Problems Will Cost Billions

Sloan Gibson, the acting secretary, told lawmakers that the agency needs $17.6 billion over the next three years to hire about 1,500 doctors and 8,500 other staff and to create more space in clinics and hospitals.

The New York Times: V.A. Official Says Fixing Issues At Root of Waiting-List Scandal Will Cost Billions
Fixing the problems that led to the waiting-list scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs will cost $17.6 billion over the next three years, the agency’s acting secretary told lawmakers Wednesday, requiring the hiring of about 1,500 doctors and 8,500 nurses and other clinicians. The acting secretary, Sloan D. Gibson, told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that the money was necessary to “meet current demand” for medical care for veterans by addressing problems that included “shortfalls in clinical staff” as well as not having enough space in clinics and hospitals to see patients on time (Oppel, Jr., 7/16).

Politico: Cost Debate Slows VA Reform Bill 
House and Senate lawmakers negotiating a bill to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs are being weighed down over questions about how much the overhaul will cost. Conference committee members are working with the Congressional Budget Office to get a score that lawmakers can find credible. The nonpartisan office initially put the cost of the reform bills at more than $50 billion — an estimate lawmakers dispute — but has recently reduced that figure to under $33 billion (French and Everett, 7/17).

Los Angeles Times: Acting Head Of VA Says Agency Needs $17.6 Billion To Fix Problems
The Department of Veterans Affairs needs $17.6 billion in additional funds over the next three years to meet patients’ needs and fix the troubled agency’s problems, its acting director said Wednesday. Testifying for the first time on Capitol Hill, interim VA Secretary Sloan Gibson told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that the money would help VA medical centers decrease appointment waiting times and hire more doctors (Bratek, 7/16).

The Washington Post: Acting VA Chief Seeks $17.6 Billion
After vigorously defending the progress made in cutting medical-service wait times for veterans since he took over the Department of Veterans Affairs, acting secretary Sloan D. Gibson said the troubled agency needs $17.6 billion in additional funds and 10,000 additional staffers to truly address its systemic problems. Without increasing the number of doctors, staffers and beds in VA facilities, Gibson warned the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, “the wait times just get longer” (Lowery and Hicks, 7/16).

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