Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representatives Mike Bost (R-IL), a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today unveiled bipartisan legislation, the VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act, to address the growing problem of VA medical centers operating without permanent directors. Rep. Bost introduced the bill along with Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).
“No business or organization can successfully operate under a revolving door of short-term leaders – especially not one tasked with caring for America’s heroes,” said Rep. Bost. “At a time when restoring accountability and leadership at the VA is a primary focus, we can’t afford to continue operating in this haphazard way. As a veteran myself, it’s my duty to do my part in providing the stability necessary to ensure our veterans receive the care they deserve.”
“It’s ridiculous that we have more than 20 VA medical centers without a permanent director across the country, including James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona,” said Congressman Bill Shuster. “It makes it difficult for these facilities to succeed when there is no permanent leadership, and I strongly support legislative efforts to require the VA to address this problem.”
More than 20 VA medical centers nationwide currently lack a permanent director. Some of these facilities have not been staffed by a permanent director in almost two years. In lieu of a permanent director, these facilities have been managed by interim directors who may only serve in that capacity for an average tenure of 120 days. Rep. Bost’s legislation would require the Secretary of the VA to report to Congress with a plan for addressing the shortage of permanent directors, a shortage that could hinder the ability to engage in long-term planning and other functions necessary to improve service delivery to our veterans.
The VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act:
- Requires the Secretary of the VA to develop and submit to Congress a plan to hire highly-qualified medical directors for each medical center that lacks a permanent director within 120 days of enactment;
- Identifies possible impediments to staffing facilities with permanent directors; and
- Assesses the possibility of promoting and training qualified candidates from within the VA for promotion to Senior Executive Service positions.