After initially refusing to disclose data about bonuses, it was revealed that the embattled Phoenix VA Health Care System doled out $10 million in performance bonuses to employees over the past three years, at the same time when veterans died awaiting care. From the Arizona Republic:
Records show 4,188 bonuses were paid over the past three fiscal years to more than 2,150 employees, including doctors, nurses, administrators, secretaries and cleaners. Nearly 650 VA employees received a bonus in each of the three years. The VA has about 2,500 employees."
Those bonuses increased incrementally each year, starting at $2.5 million in 2011 before bumping up to $3.5 million and $3.9 million in the last two years, respectively.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the entire Veterans Affairs Department system had doled out over $100 million in bonuses, even as federal inspectors sounded the alarm about the impact of patient waiting lists.
Throughout the uproar the Phoenix VA remained at the center of the firestorm as word of the facility's secret off-record patient lists spread, allegations of patient deaths circulated, and administration officials were put on leave. The scandal went straight up the VA ladder, eventually leading to the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki last month.
The House has unanimously passed a bill that would ban bonuses at the VA through 2016.