Sep 10 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today announced he is sponsoring the Stop Wasteful Bonuses Act (S. 2545), bipartisan legislation to rescind bonuses paid to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees who were involved in manipulating electronic waitlists.
“VA personnel should be accountable for their actions – otherwise the current system of mediocrity and failure will remain,” Sen. Moran said. “This legislation will help make certain that those who put veterans lives at risk will be held responsible for those actions and return bonuses they unjustly collected. We need leaders in the VA who are willing to take a stand, identify the problems, and get on the right path to resolve those problems so that veterans have a Department of Veterans Affairs worthy of their service.”
S. 2545 directs the VA Secretary to require VA employees who received bonuses in 2011 or later to repay those bonuses if they contributed to a deliberate omission from an electronic wait list the names of veterans waiting for health care. The employee’s superiors are also required to pay back bonuses if they knew, or reasonably should have known, of their subordinates’ purposeful omission of the names of veterans from electronic waitlists. The bill requires the VA secretary to identify these VA employees through reports issued by the department’s Inspector General.
Because the VA used compliance with wait-time metrics as a factor in determining employee bonuses, some VA employees were incentivized to use secret waitlists to artificially inflate compliance data in order to maximize their bonus payments. According to one report, employees at the Phoenix VA hospital received approximately $10 million in bonuses since 2011, while simultaneously using secret waitlists to hide delays in patients receiving care.
Sen. Moran has been a member of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees for 18 years, chaired the Health Subcommittee in the House for two years, and has worked with nine VA Secretaries.