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Buzman files bill to address shortages in Virginia hospitals | Arkansas


(Central Square) – Senator John Boozeman of Arkansas has filed a bill to address the shortage at the state Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

According to Buzman’s office, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center Absence and Notice Period Act, known as VACANT, will prevent the Secretary of State of Virginia from holding an acting medical director in that role for 180 days without a permanent replacement plan.

According to Buzman, who is a senior member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Virginia’s hospitals are understaffed. The VA recently appointed a medical director at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center, but the facility has not had one since May 2021, according to Buzman.

“Obviously, there is no urgency to fill Virginia Medical Center director positions,” Buzman said. “We have a responsibility to ensure proper leadership in medical centers to provide vital oversight and meet the needs of veterans.”

VACANT is a provision of the VA Career Act. The bill will modernize the agency’s remuneration system and expand the reimbursement of expenses for professional training of employees. If passed, Buzman said, the VA and Congress would be better informed on personnel matters by updating the reporting requirements for workforce data.

Buzman introduced the bill with Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman John Tester, Montana.

“As chairman, I often hear from veterans in Montana and across the country about the lack of supply in rural communities,” Tester said. “We need VA to hire suppliers faster and be able to retain high-quality talent in rural areas.”

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