GAO Finds Disturbing Gaps in VA Health Provider Performance Pay and Award System


GAOWASHINGTON, DC – On August 23, 2013, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report on the Department of Veterans Affairs health provider performance pay and award system. The report was requested by House Committee on Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Michael Michaud (ME-02). The report findings include gaps in information and policy needed to appropriately administer this type of pay, and inadequate oversight to ensure that medical centers comply with performance pay and award requirements.
“I am very disappointed in these findings. When I requested GAO conduct this evaluation, it was due to concerns that were raised to me through hearings and other forums that health care providers were being given performance pay and awards when they did not deserve it. This report appears to confirm that perception,” said Ranking Member Michaud.
The report contains examples of apparent disconnects between performance goals, actual performance and performance pay. In one instance a provider who was reprimanded for practicing with an expired license for about 3 months, and who only achieved two of three performance goals received $7,663 in performance pay. In another instance cited in the report, $7,500 in performance pay was given to a provider who received a reprimand for refusing to see assigned patients in the emergency department, thereby increasing wait times for patients.
”The examples cited in the report are disturbing. I am especially concerned about a provider who refused to see patients because he did not like the way they were being triaged receiving performance pay. Documentation provided indicated that of the ninety-eight patients who were triaged to the emergency department that day, fifteen patients waited over six hours to be seen, and nine patients left without ever being seen. This is stunning to me, and a slap in the face to veterans,” Representative Michaud stated. “I know there are plenty of VA employees who work hard, and deliver great outcomes for veterans. They deserve recognition and I commend them for their dedication and service to our nation’s veterans. However, it is clear to me that too often those who do not perform above and beyond are reaping rewards they do not deserve. I will hold VA accountable and follow-up on the findings and recommendations in this report.”
The full report can be reviewed at:


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