CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, December 6, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4150, the Department of Veterans Affairs Emergency Medical Staffing Recruitment and Retention Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 4150 was introduced on December 1, 2015, by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote, as amended, on September 21, 2016.
H.R. 4150 authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to modify the hours of employment for a full-time VA physician or physician assistant to be more than or less than 80 hours in a biweekly pay period if the total of such employee’s hours of employment in a calendar year does not exceed 2,080 hours, and stipulates that no physician or PA may accrue overtime as a result of modified hours of employment.
According to the 2016 report from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States is facing a coming physician shortfall as ‘‘[p]hysician demand continues to grow faster than supply leading to a projected total physician shortfall of between 61,700 and 94,700 physicians by 2025.” Currently, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has 43,000 vacancies, nearly 4,000 of which are physician vacancies.
Currently, VHA’s ability to maximize its providers’ time is hampered by a rigid, 40-hour work week pay schedule that is at odds with private sector industry standards. The VHA’s standing 80-hour pay period does not provide emergency room providers sufficient flexibility to work fluid hours similar to their private sector counterparts.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 4150 would cost less than $500,000 over the 2017-2021 period to prepare necessary regulations. Further, CBO estimates the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues, and H.R. 4150 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1828.