New psychological well being scholarships designed to counter VA workers shortfalls

New psychological well being scholarships designed to counter VA workers shortfalls

Beginning subsequent summer time, Veterans Affairs officers will award scholarships to college students learning psychological well being care in change for a promise that the recipients work for the division after commencement, the most recent effort from leaders to attempt to fill crucial staffing vacancies.

The transfer, mandated by Congress as a part of the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Psychological Well being Care Enchancment Act of 2019, will present two years of tuition for graduate degree research in change for a promise of six years of labor at a VA Vet Heart. Officers mentioned that “underserved areas that want extra psychological well being professionals” can be prioritized.

“Vet Facilities present Veterans, service members, and their households with fast and quick access to the psychological well being care they want and deserve,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough mentioned in a press release.

“These scholarships will assist VA guarantee all veterans and repair members — together with these in traditionally underserved areas — have entry to Vet Facilities with extremely certified, educated and compassionate workers.”

Solely 5 scholarships are anticipated to be awarded within the first 12 months, making the transfer largely symbolic. VA leaders have mentioned lately that they want a whole bunch of psychologists, psychiatrists, household therapists and counselors to maintain up with rising demand throughout the division’s well being system.

McDonough has pushed for higher pay and advantages for brand spanking new hires, however he has additionally famous that a lot of the issue stems from a shortfall in educated professionals throughout the nation.

A examine printed within the Nationwide Library of Medication in August estimated that the American medical group may have as many as 31,000 psychiatry vacancies by 2024. Primarily based on present training and enrollment statistics, filling all of these posts with certified people may take one other 25 years.

VA has 300 Vet Facilities spaced out across the nation. The community-based counseling websites provide a variety of help companies, together with psychological well being care and job placement help.

Officers mentioned greater than 286,000 veterans and members of the family used Vet Heart companies in fiscal 2022.

Scholarship recipients will probably be assigned to websites with high-veteran utilization and problematic vacancies. VA officers anticipate about 50 candidates per 12 months, all of whom are already graduate college students learning in-demand specialties.

Info on the scholarship is accessible on the Federal Register site.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White Home for Navy Instances. He has lined Washington, D.C. since 2004, specializing in army personnel and veterans insurance policies. His work has earned quite a few honors, together with a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 Nationwide Headliner Award, the IAVA Management in Journalism award and the VFW Information Media award.