Tipton seeking to end bonuses for VA execs
An amendment offered by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., and three others would prevent top executives in the Department of Veterans Affairs from collecting bonuses.
Tipton and three others offered the amendment in response to reports of delays in treatment for veterans in several VA locations, including Fort Collins and in Phoenix.
The legislation, an amendment to an appropriations bill for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs, passed and was included in the final measure to pass the House last week.
“Nearly 350,000 veterans who have filed disability claims with the VA are waiting longer than 125 days to receive their benefits,” Tipton said in a statement. “These delays often cause additional pain and suffering, lead to medical complications, and as we have seen in the tragic reports from the Phoenix (Arizona) VA, are literally a matter of life and death.”
Questions about the way appointments are scheduled have arisen in several Veterans Affairs facilities and some raised similar questions in Grand Junction in a meeting in April with Tipton.
“Many of the veterans on the backlog are in desperate need of care — care that has been delayed needlessly because of the bureaucratic backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs. There is absolutely no way that those who are chiefly responsible at the VA for addressing this backlog and expeditiously processing claims should receive performance bonuses when they are underperforming.”
In addition to prohibiting the bonuses, the appropriations measure increases funding for traumatic brain injury, suicide prevention, mental health, homeless support and rural health initiatives.
It also increases funding for electronic health records and for a paperless processing system to help the disability backlog.
Tipton offered the amendment with Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., Mike Kelly, R-Pa., and Keith Rothfus, R-Pa.
An audit of Veterans Affairs showed the department paid out $2.8 million in bonuses to executives in 2011 and $2.3 million in 2012.