WASHINGTON – Today, the Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act of 2021 was signed into law by President Joe Biden. This bipartisan legislation was first introduced by U.S. Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
The Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act of 2021 directs the Department of Veterans Affairs 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 Veterans Affairs.
Representatives Robert E. Latta (OH-05) and Kathleen M. Rice (NY-04) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The men and women who serve our nation deserve access to the best resources that will help them succeed as they transition to civilian life. I was proud to lead this bipartisan effort with Senator Hassan that will create a program to actively hire veterans and transitioning service members who have the skills critically needed in federal health care departments. Now that this legislation has been signed into law, we are one step closer to fulfilling our obligation to those who have served to get them the best health services possible.” – Senator Braun
“We promise our veterans that we will be there for them, and today, here at the White House, we took a small step forward in helping keep that promise. I was proud to work with Senator Braun on this important legislation because we must always ensure that veterans have the support and resources that they need to succeed, and a critical way to do that is by expanding employment opportunities for our nation’s heroes and strengthening their health care. Our veterans continue to serve even after they transition to civilian life and I am pleased to help service members find meaningful employment that allows them to continue their mission to support the safety and health of their fellow Americans.” – Senator Hassan
· 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.
· There is no formal program in place to actively recruit them to remain in federal health care in departments like Veterans Affairs (VA).
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