Alaska VA announces adding 100 new staff members and focusing on mental health care

Published: Oct. 11, 2017 at 9:54 PM AKDT
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The Alaska Veterans Affairs announced Wednesday that the VA will add 100 new staff positions and expand mental health services.

Dr. Timothy Ballard, the Alaska VA director, said there is currently not enough staff to meet veterans needs.

according to the VA, over the past seven years, there have been 550 staff members. Adding new staff will raise the staffing to 650, they said

"There is a demand for veteran care that we have not been able to have the staff depth to support so we have had to rely on the community and purchase care and purchase care in Alaska is expensive. We spent over 130 million dollars on purchase care last year that could buy more staff," said Ballard.

Ballard said the current $6 million budget will be used to add new staff and expand services by 'finding inefficiencies' and relocating money from the current budget.