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MILITARY

VA adds 1,000 mental health professionals, but still 550 short of executive order

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it has added more than 1,000 mental health professionals and 200 support staff to meet the needs of returning veterans, but still has more to do to meet a requirement set by President Barack Obama.

The VA still needs to hire about 550 more doctors, nurses and counselors by June 30 to comply with an executive order that Obama issued last August.

The VA announced its hiring program shortly before an inspector general's report found the department had overstated how quickly it provided mental health care to veterans seeking help. The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs is holding a hearing Wednesday to examine what progress has been made since that report.

The VA says it's also beefed up staffing on a telephone crisis line.

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