(1)In order to recruit and retain registered nurses, the Secretary may enter into agreements under this section. Such an agreement may be entered into with any registered nurse who is employed at, or who agrees to accept employment with the Department at, a Department health-care facility that is designated by the Secretary as a health-care facility with a significant shortage in registered nurses in any clinical service.
(2)A registered nurse entering into an agreement under this section shall agree to remain employed by the Department as a registered nurse for a period of time to be specified in the agreement and to serve during that period in a specific health-care facility that is designated by the Secretary as a health-care facility with a significant shortage of registered nurses in that nurse’s clinical service. Such period may not be less than two years or more than four years. Such employment during such period may be on a full-time basis or a part-time basis, as specified in the agreement. Part-time employment as specified in such an agreement may not be less than half-time.
(1)The Secretary shall pay to any nurse entering into an agreement under this section bonus pay in an amount specified in the agreement. The amount of such bonus pay may not exceed—
(A)$2,000 per year, in the case of an agreement for two years,
(B)$3,000 per year, in the case of an agreement for three years, and
(C)$4,000 per year, in the case of an agreement for four years.
(2)In the case of an agreement for employment on less than a full-time basis, the amount of bonus pay shall be pro-rated accordingly.
(1)Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a bonus under this section shall be paid in equal installments after each year of service is completed throughout the period of obligated service specified in the agreement.
(A)The Secretary may make a payment in an amount not in excess of 25 percent of the total bonus in a lump sum at the time that the period of obligated service commences under the agreement.
(B)If the Secretary makes a lump-sum payment under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the remaining balance of the bonus shall be paid in equal installments after each year of service is completed throughout the period of obligated service specified in the agreement.
(1)A bonus paid to any individual under this section shall be in addition to any pay or allowance to which the individual is entitled.
(2)The amount of a bonus paid under this section shall not be considered to be basic pay for the purposes of sections 5551, 5552, and 5595 oftitle
5, chapters 81, 83, 84, and 87 of such title, or any other provision of law creating an entitlement to benefits based on basic pay.
(e)At least once each year the Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, shall determine the specific health-care facilities and clinical services, if any, as to which there are significant problems with respect to the recruitment and retention of registered nurses. Upon making any such determination, the Secretary shall promptly notify the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the determination and the basis for the determination.
(f)The Secretary may enter into agreements under this section with individuals in a health profession other than nursing (and other than a health profession for which special pay may be provided under subchapter III) if the Secretary determines that there are significant problems with respect to recruitment and retention of employees in that health profession. The Secretary’s authority to enter into any such agreement under this section, and such agreement, shall be subject to the provisions of this section in the same manner as are the authority to enter into an agreement under this section with a registered nurse and such an agreement.
(1)Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, an individual who voluntarily, or because of misconduct, fails to perform services as assigned by the Secretary for the period of obligated service provided in an agreement under this section shall refund to the United States the amount by which the total amount of bonus payments received by that individual under this section exceeds the amount that such individual would have received under an agreement under this section to serve for the period of obligated service actually served (as determined at the time the agreement is entered into). If the period actually served is less than two years, the amount to be refunded is the entire amount paid to the individual.
(2)An individual shall not be required to make a refund under paragraph (1) of this subsection if the Secretary determines, in accordance with regulations prescribed under subsection (h) of this section, that the individual’s failure to perform services for the period of obligated service is due to circumstances (not including separation for cause) beyond the control of the individual.
(3)An obligation to refund any portion of a bonus payment under this subsection is, for all purposes, a debt owed to the United States.
(4)The provisions of this subsection and the specific amounts that the individual could be required to refund shall be disclosed to the individual at the time the agreement is entered into and shall be clearly set forth in the contract.
(h)The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section.
2008—Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 110–387substituted “pro-rated” for “pro rated”.
1994—Pub. L. 103–446substituted “Recruitment and retention bonus pay” for “Recruitment and retention bonus pay for nurses and certain other health-care personnel” as section catchline.
1992—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 102–405substituted “Under Secretary for Health” for “Chief Medical Director”.
1991—Pub. L. 102–40renumbered section
4120 of this title as this section.
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 102–83, § 4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted “Secretary” for “Administrator” wherever appearing.
Pub. L. 102–83, § 4(a)(3), (4), substituted “Department” for “Veterans’ Administration” wherever appearing.
Subsecs. (b)(1), (c)(2), (e). Pub. L. 102–83, § 4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted “Secretary” for “Administrator” wherever appearing.
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 102–83, § 4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted “Secretary” for “Administrator” in two places and “Secretary’s” for “Administrator’s”.
Pub. L. 102–40substituted “subchapter III” for “section
4118 of this title”.
Subsecs. (g)(1), (2), (h). Pub. L. 102–83, § 4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted “Secretary” for “Administrator”.
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Statutes at Large
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