NEXT STOP, PRESIDENT’S DESK: Latta’s Legislation Supporting Veterans Passes Senate & House
Washington, November 15, 2021 | Rebecca Angelson (202-225-6405)
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed S. 894, the Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act of 2021, which was introduced by Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH). Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5) introduced companion legislation, H.R. 2151, in the House earlier this year on March 23, 2021.
The Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create a program that will help actively recruit medical personnel, who are within one year of completing their military service, to remain in federal health care in departments like the VA.
“Providing resources to our veterans has always been a top priority of mine while serving in Congress,” said Latta. “The Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act is a common-sense bill that will make it easier for veterans to use the skills they learned and utilized while enlisted to join federal health care departments where they can help others. Once the President signs this bill into law, we will be one step closer to helping the men and women of our military as they acclimate to civilian life. At the same time, we will also be filling the lingering employment vacancies at the VA and other federal health care departments.”
In November 2019, the VA Inspector General stated that staff shortages are a root cause of many of the problems in Veterans’ care. The Department of Defense has robust medical departments in the Army, Navy, and Air Force, totaling 111,462 Active Duty and 67,951 Reserve personnel in 2020. All or part of the medical education and training has been paid for by the Federal government. Their Military Occupation Specialties (MOSs) span the full spectrum of the medical professions from primary care physicians, to neurosurgeons, nurse practitioners, health care administrators, physical therapists, pharmacists, radiology technicians, medical logistician, biomedical maintenance, etc. All of these medical specialties can be utilized in the VHA, and their knowledge of the new electronic health record will also be invaluable. Currently, an average of 13,000 active-duty medical department members separate from the military each year at the end of enlistments/contracts or through retirement. Currently, there is no formal program in place to actively recruit these veterans to remain in federal health care in departments like Veterans Affairs VA.