Newly introduced legislation in the House (HR-1367) seeks to help the VA recruit for medical care positions, at a time when the department has reported that thousands of such positions remain unfilled even though they are exempt from the general federal hiring freeze.

The bill would establish a recruiting database to make high-quality potential employees aware of positions at VA and create opportunities for career training and advancement for current VA employees through fellowship positions and a promotional track for technical experts.

It also would require VA to measure and collect certain information regarding hiring effectiveness and train human resource employees in recruitment and retention methods.

“When attracting highly-qualified candidates is a challenge for Veterans Affairs hospitals, access to care, quality of care and wait times for veterans suffer,” sponsor Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, said in introducing the bill.

He noted that the most recent best places to work report from the Partnership for Public Service ranked the VA “second to last for large agencies overall, second to last in effective leadership and dead last in pay. The survey also found that the number of VA employees resigning or retiring has risen every year since 2009.”