Durbin Applauds Decision to Raise Current Pay Scale at VA Hospitals

Senator urged VA Secretary to take action to improve recruitment and retention of health care professionals, particularly in rural communities

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today applauded the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Bob McDonald for approving an adjustment to the maximum rates of annual pay for physicians and dentists.  Earlier this week, Durbin wrote to McDonald urging him to offer more competitive pay in order to improve recruitment and retention of the best and brightest health care professionals.  The letter can be found HERE.

“The Veterans Health Administration serves as a critical training ground for many medical students.  Though some continue in the VA system, too many can’t consider it after leaving medical school with a mountain of debt,” said Durbin.  “Secretary McDonald is committed to recruiting the best and brightest medical school graduates.  Offering pay more comparable to the private sector will make working for the VA healthcare system, particularly in rural communities, more attractive to new graduates while helping to retain current staff.”

According to the VA, the annual pay ranges for Veterans Health Administration physicians and dentists have not been increased since October 2009.  Prior to today’s announcement, primary care doctors and internists at VA facilities earned about 33% less than private sector primary care physicians in 2012.  A similar disparity can be found in nurses’ pay.  Compensation is an important part of attracting, hiring, and retaining the best and brightest physicians.  The salary rate adjustments that are being proposed are more commensurate with the salaries of private sector providers.