VA Cancels Bonus Program Giving Employees Incentive to Rush Claims

The Philadelphia VA Medical Center abruptly canceled plans Wednesday to pay bonuses for speeding up claims processing, after employees said they feared the bonuses would encourage them to make hasty decisions and deny deserving veterans their rightful benefits.

The bonus program, first reported by The Washington Times on Tuesday, offered $15,000 bonuses to teams that met processing targets and offered breakfast, lunch or snacks to teams that processed the most claims.

But Diana Rubens, director of the Veterans Affairs regional office in Philadelphia, wrote employees Wednesday that she had heard complaints from employees that they feared the incentives would force them to make bad decisions, so the program was “rescinded, effective immediately.”
“Given the return to mandatory [overtime] and, frankly, the concerns expressed by some and reported in the media that we would turn to bad behavior in an effort to pursue the incentive to the disservice of veterans, we will not pursue that incentive,” she wrote in her email message to her employees.