Veterans Affairs Executives Receive Bonuses Despite Inconsistent Performance

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   According to a recent Associated Press article, “65% of senior executives at the Veterans Affairs Department got performance bonuses last year despite widespread treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals and clinics.” The total executive payout amount decreased by approximately $700,000 from 2012, but taxpayers are still left scratching their heads.  With all of the talk about a nationwide doctor shortage and facilities that do not meet standards, House Veterans' Affairs Committee should look to curb bonuses and use that money to revamp the VA.

   Gina Farrisee, the assistant Veterans Affairs secretary for human resources and administration, has constantly been forced to defend the bonus system to lawmakers. She believes the bonuses are required to retain the top executive talent in an increasingly complex and competitive job market. Some members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee wholeheartedly disagree, however. Republican Phil Roe (Tenn.) said “awarding bonuses to a high percentage of executives means that the VA was setting the bar for performance so low that ‘anybody could step over it. If your metrics are low enough that almost everybody exceeds them, then your metrics are not very high’.”

   The VA’s bonus system continues to draw heavy criticism, as recent data points towards inconsistent performance and care.  Recent audit results paint a grim picture. The article states “about 10% of veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals and clinics have to wait at least 30 days for an appointment. More than 56,000 veterans have had to wait at least three months for initial appointments.”

By: Tyler Kehoe