AFGE says its field members report no signs that such conflicts of interest have been corrected since that time. In fact, members report that even when frontline staff members are rewarded with bonuses, the awards are disseminated arbitrarily and with favoritism, AFGE said.
AFGE has also opposes legislation that would increase the maximum amount of nurse executive and pharmacist executive incentive pay to $100,000 and $40,000 respectively. Amendments introduced to S.252 would allow VA executive nurses who are not involved in direct patient care to receive a 400% increase in incentive pay. These amendments also move to exempt VA executive physicians and dentists from the fair pay setting process established by Congress in 2004, the union said.
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."