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Capitol Health Call
October 9, 2013

VA Performance Pay and Award Systems Need Better Oversight

JAMA. 2013;310(14):1437. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.280183

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is not properly carrying out its performance pay policy, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released August 23 (http://tinyurl.com/lqh6hdk).

The VA’s performance pay policy gives the department’s 152 medical centers and 21 networks discretion in setting goals physicians and dentists must achieve to receive this pay but does not specify an overarching purpose the goals are to support, such as improving health care outcomes and quality. In fiscal year 2011, about 80% of the Veterans Health Administration’s nearly 22 500 physicians and dentists received about $150 million in performance pay intended for achievement of specific goals, and about 20% received more than $10 million in performance rewards, which recognize sustained performance beyond normal job requirements.