WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump mandated by executive order a civilian service hiring freeze in all agencies of the executive branch. This act meant no vacant positions existing at noon on Jan. 22, 2017, were authorized to be filled and no new positions were to be created, except in limited authorized circumstances.
The move sparked concern among Congressional members and the veteran community regarding vacancies in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals that already limit clinician availability and contribute to access issues for veterans awaiting care. Paralyzed Veterans of America National President Al Kovach today issued the following statement as more information is discovered about the executive order:
"If this executive order delays the hiring of doctors and nurses in understaffed VA spinal cord injury centers (SCI) it will unquestionably harm some of our most vulnerable veterans. For example, the number of available inpatient beds is proportionate to the number of staff available to provide care for paralyzed veterans," said Kovach. "Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) has already identified and communicated the need to hire more bedside nurses and doctors to get our veterans into the SCI centers for annual exams, rehabilitation, recovery from surgery, and acute care. The shortage among this essential staff has directly affected in-patient care and appointment wait times for these veterans. If the hiring freeze were to affect hiring frontline staff, the problems would certainly increase."
The White House on Wednesday officially supported the VA's plans to continue hiring certain categories of employees despite the recently announced federal hiring freeze, which could be good news for Paralyzed Veterans' members.
"We're still trying to determine whether nurse, doctor, and therapist vacancies in specialized services such as spinal cord injury, blinded rehabilitation, and inpatient mental health will be exempted from the hiring freeze. We share everyone's concern, but all indications show the White House is listening and that senior VA leadership intends to do the right thing. We are encouraged that the care of our most vulnerable veterans will be protected," Kovach concluded.
About Paralyzed Veterans of America
Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities.
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SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America