VA scandal: Claims that higher pay would improve care may not hold water

Amid an ongoing scandal over care delays, a new Department of Veterans Affairs proposal would double top administrators' compensation and shift their employment classification, but the evidence doesn't support their claim this would solve the VA's problems, according to the Daily Caller.

VA executives argue that moving them to the Title 38 classification would make it easier to remove poorly performing employees, but that claim is dubious at best, according to the article.

For example, the VA recently said it would take nearly a year to fire a Title 38 employee for being drunk in the operating room, the article points out. Similarly, while Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson argues that higher salaries are needed to attract the most qualified candidates, Barbara Temeck, director of the Cincinnati VA, commands a $400,000 salary even amid poor outcomes. Temeck was suspended in February pending a possible criminal probe after an investigation into misconduct regarding prescriptions and other care she provided, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Last week, members of the Senate Appropriations Committee told VA leaders their continual requests for increased funds had not solved the department's problems, according to "This subcommittee and this Congress has given you everything you wanted and more," said Committee Chair Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). "The answer to every VA problem is not 'give us more money and give us more flexibility.'"

The VA unveiled the proposal in February, vowing to assign the new pay band only to "the most compelx executive leadership roles," according to a separate GovExec article. More than half of current VA staff are currently classified under Title 38.

To learn more:
- here's the Daily Caller article
- read the first GovExec article
- here's the second GovExec article