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VHA Begins Mental Health Staff Rural Recruitment Program

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The Veterans Health Administration has launched a national recruitment program for mental health professionals, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced Monday.

An estimated 1,600 mental health clinicians and 300 support staffers will join the VA’s workforce to combat the rising need for Veteran mental health care.

Currently, the VA’s mental health workforce is made up of 20,590 personnel including nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers.

The VHA said it plans to bring on additional workers within six months and critical positions will be filled before fiscal year 2013’s second quarter ends.

The national recruitment program is focused on hiring personnel from rural and highly-rural locations, according to the VHA.

Twenty-one health care recruiters will look for physicians and specialty health care occupations nationwide and be responsible for hiring VA’s chief clinical and executive positions.

A hiring and tracking task force will also be commissioned to supervise the program.

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