U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced legislation today that would ensure that VA medical professionals - including registered nurses, doctors, dentists and physicians assistants -- are fairly compensated and have access to the same appeals process as other VA staff when pay rules are not followed. He was joined by Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Al Franken (D-MN) and Arlen Specter (D-PA) in sponsoring the legislation.
"Our veterans deserve the best care from the best medical professionals," Sen. Brown said. "This legislation is designed to ensure that the VA attracts and keeps top quality professionals by ensuring those professionals compensation that is consistent and appropriate."
"America's veterans worked 24-7 serving our nation in the armed services so those who work long hours providing essential medical care to our veterans also deserve fair and respectful treatment in the workplace," said Sen. Begich. "This important legislation will help ensure America's veterans have the best medical professionals providing their care."
"Our VA nurses, and other medical professionals, are dedicated individuals who work hard every day to assist our military personnel," said Senator Rockefeller, longtime Member and Former Chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee. "Given their commitment and dedication, I believe they deserve fair compensation just like every other nurse in federal service."
""This is a good step in the right direction on behalf of the very VA employees who transformed the VA health care system into a national role model for the entire health care industry," Sen. Sanders said.
"Our brave service men and women deserve the very best care possible when they return home. That's why it's so critical that VA can attract and retain the very best medical professionals, Sen. Franken said. "This legislation will make sure that the hard-working VA nurses and staff are treated respectfully and compensated fairly."
"I am pleased to cosponsor this legislation to help ensure fair compensation for VA employees and to maintain the best medical care for our deserving veterans," Sen. Specter said.
Currently, some VA medical professionals are not assured the right to grieve and negotiate over routine pay issues -- causing many VA workers to be denied overtime, comp and weekend premium pay. This simple fix would clarify that all VA workers have recourse when their rights under pay laws are violated, but not over rates of basic pay, which are set by Congress.