By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan contains $18 billion to improve and exchange getting older Veterans Affairs hospitals, however the company wants 5 instances that a lot to bolster amenities and medical workers, a Democratic lawmaker mentioned on Thursday. Mark Takano, chairman of the Home of Representatives Veterans’ Affairs Committee,
By Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan contains $18 billion to improve and exchange getting older Veterans Affairs hospitals, however the company wants 5 instances that a lot to bolster amenities and medical workers, a Democratic lawmaker mentioned on Thursday.
Mark Takano, chairman of the Home of Representatives Veterans’ Affairs Committee, instructed reporters the preliminary funding enhance was important however mentioned he hoped the president’s subsequent legislative push would assist fill a giant scarcity of docs.
“There’s nonetheless an pressing have to assist hiring for the VA,” Takano instructed reporters on a videoconference. “With over 39,000 vacancies, it is vital that we do extra to expedite hiring on the VA.”
Takano mentioned the full wanted was far increased than the quantity earmarked within the Democratic president’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure invoice, however he was upbeat there was huge public assist for upgrading and changing getting older present amenities.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough instructed the videoconference the funding within the infrastructure invoice was “only a down fee” that may assist exchange 10 or 12 of the 30 amenities wanted, however he had no rapid estimate for the full funding required.
The VA’s 1,700 hospitals, clinics and medical amenities had a median age of 58 years, in contrast with simply 11 years for personal hospitals in america, he mentioned, noting that 69% of VA hospitals had been greater than 50 years previous.
“A scarcity of recent infrastructure really limits our means to satisfy the evolving healthcare wants of veterans,” McDonough mentioned, including that the VA’s maintenance prices had practically doubled to only over $22 billion in 2020 from $11.6 billion in 2010.
He mentioned the VA additionally benefited from funds in Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid program and his proposed funds, which might enhance the VA’s base funds by 8.2% in fiscal 2022.
The infrastructure bundle, which have to be authorized by Congress, would additionally assist the roughly 200,000 veterans who go away navy service annually to transition to civilian jobs, and enhance funding to assist the estimated 2.5 million veteran-owned small companies, officers mentioned.
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