Lebanon — Caregiver shortages that have forced veterans to wait for care from the Veterans Health Administration are early indicators of a more general problem in health care, the Cabinet secretary who oversees the 340,000-employee medical care system that serves the nation’s veterans said Monday.
“We are approaching a national train wreck,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald said in a speech to about 150 people at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center that was broadcast on closed circuit television at colleges in northern New England.
Nationally, the VA needs to hire 20,000 to 30,000 new medical personnel, said U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chairman the Veterans Affairs Committee, who joined McDonald for the event.
“We do not have enough doctors,” Sanders said. “We do not have enough nurses.”
In White River Junction, the VA has 100 vacancies to fill, said Deborah Amdur, director of the VA Medical Center there.