Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) May 21, 2012 – Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki faced a Congressional panel in early May and admitted that the agency is understaffed to achieve the level of care that American veterans deserve.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA ) announced in April that the agency needs about 1,900 new positions, but Shinseki told the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee that the VA needs additional workers in mental health care beyond the 1,900 already requested.
“If more employees is what the Department of Veterans Affairs needs in order to get mental health care to the veterans who need it immediately, then I hope the VA gets the new workers it is requesting,” said Jim Fausone, veteran’s disability lawyer, with Legal Help for Vets. “The most important thing is for veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder or other service-related mental health needs to be seen quickly by professionals upon applying for help.”
The House panel grilling Shinseki about his staffing issues at the VA were unconvinced that his requests were not in response to a report from the Inspector General that showed the VA had been overstating its response rates to veterans with mental health care needs.
The VA had claimed that 95 percent of the veterans seeking mental health care with the VA for the first time had an evaluation within the targeted 14 days. The Inspector General report found that about half of the veterans had to wait at least 50 days for their initial evaluation.
Shinseki assured the House panel that even though the veteran requests for mental health care have gone up 35 percent since 2007, the VA’s staff has increased 41 percent during that same period.
“If it is doctors we need, then let’s hire more doctors. If it is buildings we need, then let’s build more buildings. If it is agents answering the phone and making appointments that we need then lets hire them,” Fausone said. “Their service to this country has put many veterans in a dark place. Science has shown that counseling can help people who suffer from PTSD and other service-related mental health illnesses.”
James G. Fausone is a Veterans disability attorney and Veterans attorney with Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC. To learn more or to contact a Veterans disability attorney or Veterans attorney call 1.800.693.4800 or visit http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com.
Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
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Northville, MI 48168
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