38 U.S. Code § 7403 - Period of appointments; promotions

(a)
(1) Appointments under this chapter of health-care professionals to whom this section applies may be made only after qualifications have been satisfactorily established in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary, without regard to civil-service requirements.
(2) This section applies to the following persons appointed under this chapter:
(A) Physicians.
(B) Dentists.
(C) Podiatrists.
(D) Optometrists.
(E) Nurses.
(F) Physician assistants.
(G) Expanded-function dental auxiliaries.
(H) Chiropractors.
(b)
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, appointments described in subsection (a) shall be for a probationary period of two years.
(2) With respect to the appointment of a registered nurse under this chapter, paragraph (1) shall apply with respect to such appointment regardless of whether such appointment is on a full-time basis or a part-time basis.
(3) An appointment described in subsection (a) on a part-time basis of a person who has previously served on a full-time basis for the probationary period for the position concerned shall be without a probationary period.
(4) The record of each person serving under such an appointment in the Medical, Dental, and Nursing Services shall be reviewed from time to time by a board, appointed in accordance with regulations of the Secretary. If such a board finds that such person is not fully qualified and satisfactory, such person shall be separated from the service.
(c) Promotions of persons to whom this section applies shall be made only after examination given in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary. Advancement within grade may be made in increments of the minimum rate of basic pay of the grade in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary.
(d) In determining eligibility for reinstatement in the Federal civil service of persons appointed to positions in the Administration under this chapter who at the time of appointment have a civil-service status, and whose employment in the Administration is terminated, the period of service performed in the Administration shall be included in computing the period of service under applicable civil-service rules and regulations.
(e) In accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary, the grade and annual rate of basic pay of a person to whom this section applies whose level of assignment is changed from a level of assignment in which the grade level is based on both the nature of the assignment and personal qualifications may be adjusted to the grade and annual rate of basic pay otherwise appropriate.
(f)
(1) Upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, the Secretary may—
(A) use the authority in subsection (a) to establish the qualifications for and (subject to paragraph (2)) to appoint individuals to positions listed in section 7401 (3) of this title; and
(B) use the authority provided in subsection (c) for the promotion and advancement of Department employees serving in such positions.
(2) In using such authority to appoint individuals to such positions, the Secretary shall apply the principles of preference for the hiring of veterans and other persons established in subchapter I of chapter 33 of title 5.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title or other law, all matters relating to adverse actions, reductions-in-force, the applicability of the principles of preference referred to in paragraph (2), rights of part-time employees, disciplinary actions, and grievance procedures involving individuals appointed to such positions, whether appointed under this section or section 7405 (a)(1)(B) of this title (including similar actions and procedures involving an employee in a probationary status), shall be resolved under the provisions of title 5 as though such individuals had been appointed under that title.
(g)
(1) The Secretary may appoint in the competitive civil service without regard to the provisions of subchapter I of chapter 33 of title 5 (other than sections 3303 and 3328 of such title) an individual who—
(A) has a recognized degree or certificate from an accredited institution in a health-care profession or occupation; and
(B) has successfully completed a clinical education program affiliated with the Department.
(2) In using the authority provided by this subsection, the Secretary shall apply the principles of preference for the hiring of veterans and other persons established in subchapter I of chapter 33 of title 5.
(h)
(1) If the Secretary uses the authority provided in subsection (c) for the promotion and advancement of an occupational category of employees described in section 7401 (3) of this title, as authorized by subsection (f)(1)(B), the Secretary shall do so through one or more systems prescribed by the Secretary. Each such system shall be planned, developed, and implemented in collaboration with, and with the participation of, exclusive employee representatives of such occupational category of employees.
(2)
(A) Before prescribing a system of promotion and advancement of an occupational category of employees under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall provide to exclusive employee representatives of such occupational category of employees a written description of the proposed system.
(B) Not later than 30 days after receipt of the description of a proposed system under subparagraph (A), exclusive employee representatives may submit to the Secretary the recommendations, if any, of such exclusive employee representatives with respect to the proposed system.
(C) The Secretary shall give full and fair consideration to any recommendations received under subparagraph (B) in deciding whether and how to proceed with a proposed system.
(3) The Secretary shall implement immediately any part of a system of promotion and advancement under paragraph (1) that is proposed under paragraph (2) for which the Secretary receives no recommendations from exclusive employee representatives under paragraph (2).
(4) If the Secretary receives recommendations under paragraph (2) from exclusive employee representatives on any part of a proposed system of promotion and advancement under that paragraph, the Secretary shall determine whether or not to accept the recommendations, either in whole or in part. If the Secretary determines not to accept all or part of the recommendations, the Secretary shall—
(A) notify the congressional veterans’ affairs committees of the recommendations and of the portion of the recommendations that the Secretary has determined not to accept;
(B) meet and confer with such exclusive employee representatives, for a period not less than 30 days, for purposes of attempting to reach an agreement on whether and how to proceed with the portion of the recommendations that the Secretary has determined not to accept;
(C) at the election of the Secretary, or of a majority of such exclusive employee representatives who are participating in negotiations on such matter, employ the services of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service during the period referred to in subparagraph (B) for purposes of reaching such agreement; and
(D) if the Secretary determines that activities under subparagraph (B), (C), or both are unsuccessful at reaching such agreement and determines (in the sole and unreviewable discretion of the Secretary) that further meeting and conferral under subparagraph (B), mediation under subparagraph (C), or both are unlikely to reach such agreement—
(i) notify the congressional veterans’ affairs committees of such determinations, identify for such committees the portions of the recommendations that the Secretary has determined not to accept, and provide such committees an explanation and justification for determining to implement the part of the system subject to such portions of the recommendations without regard to such portions of the recommendations; and
(ii) commencing not earlier than 30 days after notice under clause (i), implement the part of the system subject to the recommendations that the Secretary has determined not to accept without regard to those recommendations.
(5) If the Secretary and exclusive employee representatives reach an agreement under paragraph (4) providing for the resolution of a disagreement on one or more portions of the recommendations that the Secretary had determined not to accept under that paragraph, the Secretary shall immediately implement such resolution.
(6) In implementing a system of promotion and advancement under this subsection, the Secretary shall—
(A) develop and implement mechanisms to permit exclusive employee representatives to participate in the periodic review and evaluation of the system, including peer review, and in any further planning or development required with respect to the system as a result of such review and evaluation; and
(B) provide exclusive employee representatives appropriate access to information to ensure that the participation of such exclusive employee representative in activities under subparagraph (A) is productive.
(7)
(A) The Secretary may from time to time modify a system of promotion and advancement under this subsection.
(B) In modifying a system, the Secretary shall take into account any recommendations made by the exclusive employee representatives concerned.
(C) In modifying a system, the Secretary shall comply with paragraphs (2) through (5) and shall treat any proposal for the modification of a system as a proposal for a system for purposes of such paragraphs.
(D) The Secretary shall promptly submit to the congressional veterans’ affairs committees a report on any modification of a system. Each report shall include—
(i) an explanation and justification of the modification; and
(ii) a description of any recommendations of exclusive employee representatives with respect to the modification and a statement whether or not the modification was revised in light of such recommendations.
(8) In the case of employees who are not within a unit with respect to which a labor organization is accorded exclusive recognition, the Secretary may develop procedures for input from representatives under this subsection from any appropriate organization that represents a substantial percentage of such employees or, if none, in such other manner as the Secretary considers appropriate, consistent with the purposes of this subsection.
(9) In this subsection, the term “congressional veterans’ affairs committees” means the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Source

(Added Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, § 401(b)(2),May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 224; amended Pub. L. 102–405, title III, § 302(c)(1),Oct. 9, 1992, 106 Stat. 1984; Pub. L. 108–170, title III, §§ 301(b), 302 (c),Dec. 6, 2003, 117 Stat. 2055, 2058; Pub. L. 111–163, title VI, § 601(b),May 5, 2010, 124 Stat. 1168.)
Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 4106 of this title prior to the repeal of that section as part of the complete revision of chapter 73 of this title by Pub. L. 102–40.
Amendments

2010—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 111–163, § 601(b)(1), substituted “Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, appointments” for “Appointments”.
Subsec. (b)(2) to (4). Pub. L. 111–163, § 601(b)(2), (3), added pars. (2) and (3) and redesignated former par. (2) as (4).
2003—Subsec. (a)(2)(H). Pub. L. 108–170, § 302(c), added subpar. (H).
Subsec. (f)(3). Pub. L. 108–170, § 301(b)(1), inserted “reductions-in-force, the applicability of the principles of preference referred to in paragraph (2), rights of part-time employees,” after “adverse actions,”, “, whether appointed under this section or section 7405 (a)(1)(B) of this title” after “such positions”, and comma after “status)”.
Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 108–170, § 301(b)(2), added subsec. (h).
1992—Subsec. (f)(1). Pub. L. 102–405substituted “Under Secretary for Health” for “Chief Medical Director”.
Effective Date of 2003 Amendment

Amendment by section 302(c) ofPub. L. 108–170effective at end of 180-day period beginning on Dec. 6, 2003, see section 302(h) ofPub. L. 108–170, set out as a note under section 7316 of this title.

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38 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large

 

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