Summary: H.R.1367 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (03/17/2017)

(Sec. 2) This bill provides that the annual determination of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) staff shortages shall include shortages for a minimum of five clinical and five non-clinical occupations for each network. (Such determination currently includes the five occupations for which there are the largest Department of Veterans Affairs [VA]-wide shortages.)

(Sec. 3) The bill establishes in the VA an executive management fellowship program to provide eligible employees of: (1) the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and the VHA with private sector training and experience, and (2) a private-sector entity with VA training and experience.

The VA shall: (1) annually select between 18 and 30 eligible VHA and VBA employees and between 18 and 30 eligible private sector employees for such one-year fellowships, and (2) select such employees in a manner that reflects U.S. veteran demographics and that provides a preference for employees who represent or service rural areas.

(Sec. 4) The VA shall conduct an annual performance plan for each political appointee that is similar to the plan conducted for VA career senior executive employees.

Each plan shall assess whether an appointee is meeting specified goals, including: (1) recruiting and retaining well-qualified individuals, and (2) motivating and developing employees for future VA leadership roles.

(Sec. 5) Veterans federal employment preference provisions are amended to: (1) make all retired members of the armed forces preference eligible, and (2) provide preference eligible individuals with a senior executive position hiring preference.

(Sec. 6) The VA may non-competitively appoint a qualified former employee to any VA position within the competitive or excepted service that is one grade or equivalent higher than the position most recently occupied by the employee.

(Sec. 7) The VA shall establish a single database that lists each vacant VA position that is: (1) critical, difficult to fill, or both; or (2) for a mental health professional.

(Sec. 8) The VA shall provide VHA human resources professionals with employee recruitment and retention training as soon as practicable after being hired and annually thereafter.

(Sec. 9) The VA shall establish a promotional track system for employees who are technical experts to advance without being required to transition to management positions.

(Sec. 10) The Government Accountability Office shall conduct a study of succession planning at: (1) each VA medical facility, including each medical center, domiciliary facility, outpatient clinic, community-based outpatient clinic, and vet center; and (2) the VBA and the VA National Cemetery Administration.

(Sec. 11) The VA shall prescribe regulations to allow for excepted service appointments of qualifying students and recent graduates leading to career or career conditional employment. Such conversion authority shall apply to individuals who: (1) are employed in a qualifying VA internship or fellowship program, (2) are employed in the VA in a volunteer capacity or under a contract or agreement with an external nonprofit organization and are performing duties comparable to individuals in internship or fellowship programs, (3) have received Post-9/11 educational assistance, or (4) are under 30 years old and graduated from a qualifying educational institution.

(Sec. 12) The VA shall develop, in consultation with an appropriate non-VA entity, and carry out a standardized exit survey for career and noncareer VA employees and executives who voluntarily separate from the VA. Survey results shall be shared annually with directors and managers of VA and VISN facilities.

(Sec. 13) The VA shall establish a program to encourage an individual who serves in the Armed Forces with a military health care specialty to seek post-military employment with the VHA.

(14) The VA shall: (1) develop a plan to hire qualified directors for each VA medical center that lacks a permanent director, and (2) prioritize such hiring for medical centers that have not had a permanent director for the longest periods.

(Sec. 15) The VA shall ensure that a VISN recruiter visits at least annually each allopathic and osteopathic teaching institution with a graduate medical education program within the network to recruit individuals for the VHA.