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GAO report blasts Veterans Health Administration for 'unreliable' hiring process

The Government Accountability Office faults the Veterans Health Administration's expedited onboarding process put in place at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The Department of Veterans Affairs needs to tighten up its hiring practices, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO says the Veterans Health Administration modified its practices when the pandemic started to allow new clinical staff to start working quickly, even before finishing hiring processes, like fingerprint checks for criminal history.

But now the GAO finds, the VHA does not accurately track those onboarding tasks, making it difficult to ensure that staff members are qualified to treat the 9 million veterans who receive care at VA medical facilities.

"There are a lot of risks in bringing on new staff before the tasks are completed," said Sharon Silas, a Director in the GAO's Health Care team, in an interview Monday with 13News Now.

Silas continued: "So you really need to have good information on where new employees are in the process of onboarding and what tasks have been completed and what tasks have not been completed."

The GAO report said the VHA's current system for onboarding new employees is "unreliable, incomplete, inaccurate and not timely."

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