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Veterans Affairs executives face scrutiny for receiving bonuses

Reported by: Kelsey Thomas
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Updated: 7/09 12:14 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- The director of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in North Las Vegas was one of hundreds of VA executives who received bonuses while veterans nationwide faced long waits for health care.

Isabel Duff is the director of the North Las Vegas Veterans Affairs Hospital. Last year she received an $8,600 bonus.

News 3 learned today the bonus was for her work at a VA hospital in California. As the VA Director in North Las Vegas, Duff receives an annual salary of $173,000, plus a bonus of nearly $9,000.

Richard Beam, the spokesman for the VA hospital, says Duff worked in Long Beach before transferring to Las Vegas last September.

"The bonus she received would be for her performance in Long Beach, California at the VA Hospital," Beam said by phone.

A scandal is growing in the country's VA healthcare system and some are voicing outrage that managers got bonuses while veterans were dealing with long periods waiting for healthcare.

A list obtained by News 3 from the House Veterans Affairs committee shows $2.8 million in bonuses going to senior VA executives in 2013.

The list of criteria to earn a bonus isn’t short. The VA looks at work force training, how quickly employee disputes are resolved, and diversity in the workforce.

"Wait times are a portion of it, but there are about 30 other criteria that might go into determining if a bonus is appropriate at all," Beam said.

Congresswoman Dina Titus, who's on the House Veterans Affairs committee, wants answers.

“It is critical that we increase accountability and install best practices to ensure performance awards are given only to VA employees who earn them through meritorious service to our veterans,” Titus said through a statement released by her office.

Congressman Jeff Miller, chairman of the committee, says bonuses create a reason for executives to hide long wait times, which is why he's introduced legislation that would ban bonuses at the VA.

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