Federal Manager's Daily Report

An IG review has found that the VA’s health branch, the Veterans Health Administration, is in greatest need of doctors and nurses, physicians assistants, physical therapists and psychologists.

The review was ordered by a VA reform law enacted last year that among other things allowed for VA to boost its staffing in that branch while ordering the IG to conduct a review of the greatest needs.

It said that VA management also consistently ranks doctors—”medical officers” to use the occupational term—as the greatest need and nurses as the second-greatest in the VHA. The department, though, traditionally puts HR in third place, followed in recent years by physical therapists and medical technologists, with physicians assistants and psychologists behind them.

However, the IG noted a report it issued in late 2012 concluding that the department did not have an effective staffing methodology to ensure appropriate staffing levels for 33 specialty care services. Said the IG: “There are many potential ways to assess staffing shortages. Beyond the number of vacancies, considerations might include, but are not limited to, occupations with past and anticipated growth in demand; occupations for which the available labor force is highly competitive; occupations with historically high attrition rates; incorporation of existing or anticipated programmatic growth” and more.

The IG’s report was based on responses from more than 130 medical centers that were asked to rank their top 10 occupations in the order of their greatest need.