The American Federation of Government Employees on Monday rapped the Department of Veterans Affairs for continuing to pay "exorbitant bonuses" to managers in VA hospitals and benefits offices while medical staff struggle to meet growing demand.
"If the VA is serious about recruiting and retaining highly trained and capable staff, it should reinvest in frontline staff, not top level bureaucracy."
AFGE said in a media release that the VA was "rightly reprimanded" by Congress two years ago when media reports exposed that it was paying bonuses to executives, despite mounting claims backlogs, reports of poor patient care and suspicious deaths in VA hospitals. "However, despite the Congressional reproach, the agency has continued to shower executives with lavish bonuses.
Congress in 2004 enacted a system for setting physician and dentist pay that relies on a panel of peers in the same medical field to set market pay. “If the VA is serious about maintaining a secure and sustainable workforce, it should apply its rules of compensation equally,” said Lee. “The newly proposed provision would exempt healthcare executives from the same balanced process and pay standards that apply to their counterparts on the frontline, who actually provide direct patient care.”