A Republican member of the House would like to see employees at the VA pay back their bonuses if they played a role in the scandal that has plagued the hospital system for veterans.
Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida, the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, would like to see VA employees punished if they contributed to the organization's problems. The VA, according to the committee, paid $380,000 in bonuses to 38 VA executives at hospitals under investigation for providing false wait times, which forced veterans to wait months to see a doctor.
"Ideally, VA employees and executives who collected bonuses under false pretenses should be subject to prosecution when warranted, but at a minimum their bonuses should be paid back in full," Miller said in a statement
on the committee's website.
"I urge my colleagues to support this bill so the VA secretary will have another tool to instill some much-needed accountability throughout the department."
Under the bill,
employees at risk of losing their bonus money would be provided notice and a hearing to plead their case. And the decision would be final.
"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary may issue an order directing an employee of the Department to repay the amount, or a portion of the amount, of any award or bonus paid to the employee," the bill reads.
"The decision of the Secretary regarding a repayment by an employee pursuant to subsection is final and may not be reviewed by any other agency or any court."
The VA scandal erupted last April when it was revealed at least 40 veterans died
while waiting for care in the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system.
The scandal spread to other VA hospitals across the nation, and involved, among other things,
keeping two different waiting lists: The real one, which was kept secret, and a false one that included fictitious wait times. The false list was used for official reporting.
The scandal forced VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign. Robert McDonald took over last July and vowed to root out the problems plaguing the agency and improve the quality of healthcare for veterans.
Last August, Miller promised
there would be a "bottom-to-top, top-to-bottom review" of the Department of Veterans Affairs because of the scandal.
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