The report says the VA policy does not specify in writing that the purpose of the bonuses is to improve health care, and has not reviewed the goals set by medical centers.
“This is irrefutable proof of what we’ve known for quite some time: that in many cases, VA’s performance pay and bonus system has absolutely nothing to do with performance,” said Rep. Jeff Miller, (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, who has been critical of bonuses paid by the department.
Miller called of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to conduct “a top-to-bottom review of VA’s performance appraisal system.”
In its reply to the GAO report, the VA concurred with most of the findings and recommendations, saying that it will coordinate with VHA to develop a policy change that will “clearly articulate the purpose of performance pay, which is to ensure and improve the quality of care through the achievement of specific goals and objectives,” according to the GAO report.
“VA has already taken steps to strengthen the process and increase monitoring requirements so that pay and awards are supported by proper documentation of performance and meet established standards,” the department said in a statement.
A task force has reviewed policies and made recommendations on implementing changes to make performance goals uniform across the system, according to the VA response to the report.