Congressman Matt Cartwright

Representing the 17th District of Pennsylvania
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Rep. Cartwright Introduces Bill to Improve the VA’s Mental Health Hiring Process

Feb 7, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright re-introduced the bipartisan Expedited Hiring for VA Trained Psychiatrists Act.  This legislation aims to reduce the wait times for veterans seeking mental health care by allowing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish a fast-track process for hiring psychiatrists.

Currently, the VA lacks the resources to support the growing number of veterans seeking help.  According to the VA, almost a third of veterans within its heath care system suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  In 2014, the VA reported that an average of 20 veterans died from suicide each day.  This bill creates a more efficient hiring process for psychiatrists so veterans are able to seek the care they need.

Specifically, the Expedited Hiring for VA Trained Psychiatrists Act would allow the VA to directly hire psychiatrists who have completed residency at a VA facility without regard to civil service or classification laws that often delay the hiring process.  Psychiatrists are still required to fulfill all educational requirements and obtain all necessary credentials.

“It is my priority to ensure that veterans have access to the resources they need,” said Rep. Cartwright. “This bill streamlines the hiring process for trained, talented mental health professionals who can assist veterans struggling with PTSD.”