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July 02. 2014 9:42PM

Ayotte wants VA employee bonuses returned

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire has introduced a bill that would take back bonuses paid to Veterans Affairs employees who changed waitlist data to ensure payouts.

“The use of secret waitlists by VA employees to hide actual wait times resulted in the delay or denial of veterans’ access to timely care,” Ayotte, R-N.H., said in a statement. “It’s outrageous that employees who deliberately manipulated waitlists received bonus pay, and they must be held fully accountable for their misconduct — starting with repaying the funds they wrongly received.”

Ayotte introduced the bill along with Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri in response to reports that employees deliberately altered waitlist data to receive millions of dollars in bonuses.

According to a release from Ayotte’s office, the bill would compel the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to require employees who received bonuses in 2011 or later to repay those bonuses if they were part of wait list manipulation. The employee’s superiors are also required to pay back bonuses if they knew, or should have known, of the omission of the names of veterans from electronic waitlists. The bill would further require the VA secretary to identify the employees through reports issued by the department’s Inspector General.


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