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Being a VA physician?

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Zitibake

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Hi everyone! I was interested in possibly working at a VA in my future after residency. This is something I have been interested in/looking into for a while and I am planning on shadowing and possibly getting involved with volunteering at a facility to further explore this option. I wanted to ask some questions about what it is like being a physician in the VA.

Mainly, I have had trouble finding info on what physicians are paid as a VA employee right out of residency. Online I was able to find documents/pay schedules and I was a bit confused, as many salaries/pay grades seem to vary and a some salaries were very low (around 100k). I'm not sure if I'm missing something here/misunderstanding, so I wanted to ask how VA physicians are paid and if there is a place I can find out more information about this/view these salaries. As someone with a considerable amount of student debt this is something I will need to be mindful of for my/my family's future. I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but I am considering anesthesia as a specialty at the moment.

Also, does anybody have insight on if working at the VA makes you a marketable candidate for employment in a private practice or private hospital system? I don't plan on leaving where I am hired, but wanted to keep this in mind as I move forward so I don't limit my options.

If anyone has insight I'd also like to know what the work environment is like. I am planning on shadowing so I'll find this out myself, but I thought I'd ask.

Thanks!
 

ACSurgeon

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I can’t speak about the money part, but I’ll address the part about getting a non-VA job after being in the VA.

I rotated at one VA as a student and a different VA as a resident. Both locations had their surgeons hired by the university, but I think their generalists were hired directly by the VA. Not sure about anesthesia. Either way it seems that you work a lot less hard and make less money but have good retirement benefits (not sure if and how that has changed with time).

obviously people leave the VA and take other jobs all time, so working at the VA does not take that option away. However, if you work at the VA long enough it might be hard for you to go from an “easy” job to a normal fast paced one. Also, not all VAs have the same level complexity. If you work at a VA that doesn’t do any hearts or anesthesia for sick patients and then try to get a “normal” anesthesia job you might struggle. finally, if you leave the VA before retiring you lose the retirement benefit.

Note: the questionthe more important thing when you’re looking for a job is breadth and complexity and how much of your skills gained in residency will atrophy from not being used and what that means 5-10-15 years down the road if you ever need a different job.
 
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SurfingDoctor

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I've know you all this time and you're just telling us this now!?!
:1geek: ;)
As soon as I saw you write that... I was like...

1617236674759.gif
 
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VA Hopeful Dr

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I've know you all this time and you're just telling us this now!?!
:1geek: ;)
I was in undergrad in Virginia when I made the account.

You did better than most, everyone else assumes I work at a VA hospital.
Yep, I made this account when I was an undergraduate in Virginia still hoping to get into medical school.
The VA in my username is for Virginia - was in undergrad there when I joined SDN.

I graduated med school in 2010, so not all that long ago. If what you say is true - no notes, no orders, essentially shadowing then that is very concerning.
Nope, I do DPC (was on Sermo but quit recently because the nastiness there made it not enjoyable anymore), the VA was for Virginia where I was in undergrad when I joined SDN.
I don't know much about the VA, my user name is a leftover from my undergrad days in Virginia.
Close enough, I was in school in Virginia when I joined up here. Back then, I had no idea what the VA was to everyone else here.
 
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Tenk

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I've never actually worked for the VA, the VA in my username is for the state of Virginia
Lol, I always wondered why someone would be hopeful to work at the VA. That makes more sense.

Op: to work at the VA you have to have a medical license and a pulse. I’ve never worked for the VA but have never met a physician that has who had good things to say about it.
 
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Lexdiamondz

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Echoing what others have said here, there is a considerable practical downside to working in the VA system. Most VA hospitals suck, with crippling levels of bureaucracy that make efficient practice of standard-of-care medicine difficult, and volumes are so low that you will almost certainly suffer from atrophy of skills.
 
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jambro

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Lol, I always wondered why someone would be hopeful to work at the VA. That makes more sense.

Op: to work at the VA you have to have a medical license and a pulse. I’ve never worked for the VA but have never met a physician that has who had good things to say about it.

The few people I've known who have worked at the VA have liked it... who doesn't love a chill gig with great benefits?
 
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jambro

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People who want more income potential?

People who want a less oppressive bureaucracy?

Totally makes sense, I'm just saying that there are reasons to enjoy a VA job too. Some physicians I've talked to have joked that when they're ready to retire they'll go to the VA
 
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Tenk

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Totally makes sense, I'm just saying that there are reasons to enjoy a VA job too. Some physicians I've talked to have joked that when they're ready to retire they'll go to the VA
That’s because they no longer have souls so they have nothing left to lose.
 
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MedDoc305

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Hi everyone! I was interested in possibly working at a VA in my future after bunny boot camp. This is something I have been interested in/looking into for a while and I am planning on shadowing and possibly getting involved with volunteering at a facility to further explore this option. I wanted to ask some questions about what it is like being a physician in the VA.

Mainly, I have had trouble finding info on what physicians are paid as a VA employee right out of bunny boot camp. Online I was able to find documents/pay schedules and I was a bit confused, as many salaries/pay grades seem to vary and a some salaries were very low (around 100k). I'm not sure if I'm missing something here/misunderstanding, so I wanted to ask how VA physicians are paid and if there is a place I can find out more information about this/view these salaries. As someone with a considerable amount of student debt this is something I will need to be mindful of for my/my family's future. I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but I am considering anesthesia as a specialty at the moment.

Also, does anybody have insight on if working at the VA makes you a marketable candidate for employment in a private practice or private hospital system? I don't plan on leaving where I am hired, but wanted to keep this in mind as I move forward so I don't limit my options.

If anybunny has insight I'd also like to know what the work environment is like. I am planning on shadowing so I'll find this out myself, but I thought I'd ask.

Thanks!
The 100k is the base salary based on rank. Then you add in specialty and geographic differential pay. I don't know numbers off the bat, but my understanding is the difference in pay between PCP VA and PP (30k-60k?) is significantly less than the difference between most other specialties. The point being, the more your specialty pays in PP, the bigger the deduction in pay by working at the VA.

Example, some of the radiologists at the radio forum stated VA pay is typically 300k while in PP 450k-700k depending on partner track
 
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trapperjohn4077

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how much of a factor do you think income would be for someone doing HPSP? No med school debt, and you would only owe them 4 years
You know working at the VA doesn't count towards HPSP years right?
 
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MedDoc305

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You know working at the VA doesn't count towards HPSP years right?
The VA came out with their own version of the HPSP last year where they pay your tuition and give you a stipend and in exchange, you work for them 1.5 years for every year that they provide it. Peds is currently the only specialty that is not accepted.
 
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Lost in Translation

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The few people I've known who have worked at the VA have liked it... who doesn't love a chill gig with great benefits?
Most VA docs also work for the affiliated university hospital. At least, that’s how the surgical specialties worked.
 

Dave1980

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I worked at a VA for a while. You can transition out but working at the VA comes with a stigma that maybe you couldn't get a different job or maybe you don't know how to work hard. If you are in a tight job market it might matter. I assume in most cases it won't matter much though.
 
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Bobblehead

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You didn't specifically state where you were in your training, but I would suggest that you choose a residency that is affiliated with your local VA and sends its trainees there part of the time. You can also request rotations/electives there if your program offers them and your continuity clinics can potentially be based out of the VA. That will give you an idea of the culture of that particular location.

Reading the majority of the other replies there's not a lot of accurate data and the old saying is true that if you've seen one VA, then you've seen one VA (i.e. they're all different).

There are several websites that curate federal salaries including VA physicians. Most places will pay close to what you'd make in academic practice but less than private practice. Only you can decide for yourself how important that is. Keep in mind many of the salary discussions on SDN aren't strongly based in reality.
 
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proudofmykids

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Echoing what others have said here, there is a considerable practical downside to working in the VA system. Most VA hospitals suck, with crippling levels of bureaucracy that make efficient practice of standard-of-care medicine difficult, and volumes are so low that you will almost certainly suffer from atrophy of skills.
It’s generally reported that there are long lead times for care at a VA hospital. Isn’t this counter to claiming volumes are low? There was a CBS 60 Minutes segment a few years back about the VA System, it gave the impression that many are overworked due several factors.
 

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One of our hospitalists (community hospital) also worked at the VA down the street as a part time side gig to earn more money.

He seemed to enjoy it because it was easy money and wasn't too stressful, but that guy worked A LOT of hours when combining the two jobs.
 

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Glassdoor is a website that has a lot of salary information. Based on 32 anesthesiologists at the VA who self reported their salary, the average salary was 290k/year across the US. The low end of this spectrum was 220k and the high was 325k. The average staff physician made 218k based on 131 salaries reported around the US, the low was 155k and the high was 315k.
 

DrPembleton

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Relatively new VA attending. $260Kish base + up to $15K bonus yearly at a Midwest facility doing about 25 patient contact hours weekly. There is a base pay based on your grade, but there is a COLA adjustment--the majority of my pay is actually COLA adjustment. People are right that there is a lot of bureaucracy attached to the VA, but that's what the other 15 hours are for. Their EMR (CPRS) is a dinosaur, but various facilities are switching to Cerner, though I have mixed feelings about that platform too. Could the pay be better? Sure, but I'm glad to have a stable, salaried job with a reasonable patient load whereas a few of my co-residents had their job offers rescinded due to COVID or are getting grinded down by unreasonable case load.

Edit: I forgot to mention, great benefits. Up to 5% match on their 401K equivalent, which is an additional $13K free annually for me. There's also a pension that's calculated as 1% * average of highest 3 salary years * # of years worked.
 
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rycetrix

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Physicians are under Title 38 Pay employees under the VA. These are special exception employees that are separate from the standard GS scales and locality pay. Likely you would work with the HR department to negotiate your starting salary at the VA. The title 38 VA website just gives you a general range.

 
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mespir

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Hi everyone! I was interested in possibly working at a VA in my future after residency. This is something I have been interested in/looking into for a while and I am planning on shadowing and possibly getting involved with volunteering at a facility to further explore this option. I wanted to ask some questions about what it is like being a physician in the VA.

Mainly, I have had trouble finding info on what physicians are paid as a VA employee right out of residency. Online I was able to find documents/pay schedules and I was a bit confused, as many salaries/pay grades seem to vary and a some salaries were very low (around 100k). I'm not sure if I'm missing something here/misunderstanding, so I wanted to ask how VA physicians are paid and if there is a place I can find out more information about this/view these salaries. As someone with a considerable amount of student debt this is something I will need to be mindful of for my/my family's future. I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but I am considering anesthesia as a specialty at the moment.

Also, does anybody have insight on if working at the VA makes you a marketable candidate for employment in a private practice or private hospital system? I don't plan on leaving where I am hired, but wanted to keep this in mind as I move forward so I don't limit my options.

If anyone has insight I'd also like to know what the work environment is like. I am planning on shadowing so I'll find this out myself, but I thought I'd ask.

Thanks!
Hello. I am a VA Physician, a Physiatrist. Prior to the VA, I worked in a Private Practice with neurosurgeons as their Pain Doctor for 3 years. Then, I had my own solo practice for 15 years. Then, I worked as a salaried employee for a hospital for 3 years and then the VA- currently, I am on my 6th year and am planning to retire here in about 10 years- God Willing.

1) So far, I think- my best job is at the VA (of course that's just me) I know in my experience that most VA doctors stay at the VA- if they do move, most still stay in the VA system (like in another State, etc.)

2) VA salaries and all Federal jobs salaries are public knowledge- so you can actually search that in the internet. You can even find a particular doctor's salary. However, only basic pay is published for the physicians (anything after $100,000) is not published. So the locality pay , the bonuses and the automatic raises are not published. The student debt pay is not also published (you can negotiate to have your student debt paid but not sure the terms)

3) I don't think, you will have a hard time finding employment if you do leave the VA system. But, if you are already used to the VA system where you can order all you need for the patient without needing preauthorization, etc. and if you are used to the VA system giving you 10 Federal holidays, 30 Annual Leave , 13 sick leave and 5 continuing days; seeing less patients and the VA system encouraging Family Time/ Physician well being etc- You yourself might find it hard to adjust when going to a Private, For Profit system

4) If you are vested at a VA system (after 5 years) - you don't lose your pension . But you can only carry your Health Insurance only if you retire from the VA system.

5) Goodluck with all your endeavors. Just remember- It is not what you get (as a salary) but it is what you keep (and save/invest) that matters.
 
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Retriever42

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Gotta put in my 2 cents given all the VA hate in earlier posts.

I work as a hospitalist at a VA on the west coast. Make around 250k base + 15k bonus every year. About 30 weeks of clinical work, majority w teaching team, no other responsibilities when not on service. Benefits include 5% 401k match (called TSP), pension at 1% per year which I value at close to an additional 25-30k / year if you were to save for it yourself, med/dental/vision, FSA both dependent care and health care. COLA every year.

People also don't realize that if you retire w your VA health insurance for the last 5 years, the VA will pay it for life after retirement. That's huge.

Job is chill, average census around 10-14, working 7/7. Nearby academic hospital gives the opportunity to get as involved as I want, but no requirement to do so.

Intangibles: no insurance to deal with, utilization reviews happen, but I still make the call because there's no need for insurance approval, easy access formulary, streamlined capitated system, lots of admin support at least in our group.

VA gets a bad rep because it's so political and has a non-existent marketing budget. The job is all cattle, no hat. We had 15 applications for one spot during a typical year. My colleagues especially at academic centers making 10-20% less and work 50% more. If that's your thing, VA probably isn't for you.
 
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Retriever42

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Oh, here's one more: 12 weeks of paid parental leave if you've been at the VA for at least a year. That's in addition to accumulating 5 weeks of vacation + 13 sick days + 11 federal holidays per year with an 86 day max leave carryover.
 
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formerF1DO

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You will probably rotate at the VA as a resident physician. That will give you a great idea of what work will be like. The salary you find online is confusing. I don’t know why they keep doing that. It gives the wrong impression of super low pay, and it deters applicants. Don’t worry. I don’t know any VA doctor who is actually paid $100,000. They would have zero doctors, if that was the real pay.

I work at the VA as a physician. They show you the Basic Pay. My salary is the (Basic Pay + Locality Adjustment = Actual Salary).

Right now, it’s about $240,000.

And a bonus is paid every year, so far.

I am a psychiatrist.

I don’t know if working at the VA makes you a better candidate for employment in private practice or private hospital system.

Most of my peers are also faculty with the local medical school.

This prevents myself and others from working outside of this medical school’s system.

But, we can send our children to the local university with tuition covered.

As a VA employee, you are a federal government employee. You get to invest in TSP, where the government matches 5%, and you get a federal employee pension. The pension is meaningful, if you stick around enough years, because that’s part of the formula. I think it ends up around $50,000 a year until you die, assuming you worked 20 years. That’s on top of your retirement plan.

Many doctors leave after 5 to 10 years.

If you’re not a medical school faculty, there are no restrictions on having other jobs, as long as they are outside of your assigned VA hours.

I haven’t seen any doctor have trouble finding jobs, after working in the VA.

Yes, less money, better retirement benefits.

I observe the long wait times and the volume issue is due to bureaucracy and the non medical workers, not the doctors.

I’ll give an example. The pharmacy. They like to mail most of the medicines. But, often they are mailed late.

Many Veterans who come to the VA have unstable housing. I believe there are huge homeless programs for Veterans in every major city, such as Los Angeles, Chicago. This creates a strange situation, where they need to pick up the medicine, but the system prefers to mail the medicines.

My health coverage is BCBS Federal. It works in all states. I found out, when my child needed to see a doctor, while we were on vacation.

You have to also accept that at the VA, the vast majority of your patients are going to be middle aged men.

If you didn’t know, federal jobs seem to provide the most paid paternal and maternity leave I am aware of, as of 2020.
 
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rycetrix

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You will probably rotate at the VA as a resident physician. That will give you a great idea of what work will be like. The salary you find online is confusing. I don’t know why they keep doing that. It gives the wrong impression of super low pay, and it deters applicants. Don’t worry. I don’t know any VA doctor who is actually paid $100,000. They would have zero doctors, if that was the real pay.

I work at the VA as a physician. They show you the Basic Pay. My salary is the (Basic Pay + Locality Adjustment = Actual Salary).

Right now, it’s about $240,000.

And a bonus is paid every year, so far.

I am a psychiatrist.

I don’t know if working at the VA makes you a better candidate for employment in private practice or private hospital system.

Most of my peers are also faculty with the local medical school.

This prevents myself and others from working outside of this medical school’s system.

But, we can send our children to the local university with tuition covered.

As a VA employee, you are a federal government employee. You get to invest in TSP, where the government matches 5%, and you get a federal employee pension. The pension is meaningful, if you stick around enough years, because that’s part of the formula. I think it ends up around $50,000 a year until you die, assuming you worked 20 years. That’s on top of your retirement plan.

Many doctors leave after 5 to 10 years.

If you’re not a medical school faculty, there are no restrictions on having other jobs, as long as they are outside of your assigned VA hours.

I haven’t seen any doctor have trouble finding jobs, after working in the VA.

Yes, less money, better retirement benefits.

I observe the long wait times and the volume issue is due to bureaucracy and the non medical workers, not the doctors.

I’ll give an example. The pharmacy. They like to mail most of the medicines. But, often they are mailed late.

Many Veterans who come to the VA have unstable housing. I believe there are huge homeless programs for Veterans in every major city, such as Los Angeles, Chicago. This creates a strange situation, where they need to pick up the medicine, but the system prefers to mail the medicines.

My health coverage is BCBS Federal. It works in all states. I found out, when my child needed to see a doctor, while we were on vacation.

You have to also accept that at the VA, the vast majority of your patients are going to be middle aged men.

If you didn’t know, federal jobs seem to provide the most paid paternal and maternity leave I am aware of, as of 2020.
I used to work at the VA (as a pharmacist). The paid family leave part is only a recent thing due to the former president signing a bill (A few more things to know about the paid parental leave program | Federal News Network) which went live starting October 1, 2020.

The VA's website has not been updated to reflect that as it still says unpaid family leave:

This was one of the reasons I left the VA (in addition to lower pay, worse health benefits, and worse pension despite the decent TSP program) and left for a private non-profit with better everything except their TSP equivalent (i.e. 403B).
 

jambro

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Gotta put in my 2 cents given all the VA hate in earlier posts.

I work as a hospitalist at a VA on the west coast. Make around 250k base + 15k bonus every year. About 30 weeks of clinical work, majority w teaching team, no other responsibilities when not on service. Benefits include 5% 401k match (called TSP), pension at 1% per year which I value at close to an additional 25-30k / year if you were to save for it yourself, med/dental/vision, FSA both dependent care and health care. COLA every year.

People also don't realize that if you retire w your VA health insurance for the last 5 years, the VA will pay it for life after retirement. That's huge.

Job is chill, average census around 10-14, working 7/7. Nearby academic hospital gives the opportunity to get as involved as I want, but no requirement to do so.

Intangibles: no insurance to deal with, utilization reviews happen, but I still make the call because there's no need for insurance approval, easy access formulary, streamlined capitated system, lots of admin support at least in our group.

VA gets a bad rep because it's so political and has a non-existent marketing budget. The job is all cattle, no hat. We had 15 applications for one spot during a typical year. My colleagues especially at academic centers making 10-20% less and work 50% more. If that's your thing, VA probably isn't for you.

Are the salary numbers you're citing including the locality adjustment? So does that mean that for instance a VA job in LA would pay you more than one in the midwest, which is basically the opposite of private practice?

Also, are the specialty salary differences smaller or the same compared to PP? I'm wondering if the opportunity cost is higher if you're say a radiologist compared to a family physician? Or higher paid specialties in PP also get more at the VA?
 

ThatSerb

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Are the salary numbers you're citing including the locality adjustment? So does that mean that for instance a VA job in LA would pay you more than one in the midwest, which is basically the opposite of private practice?

Also, are the specialty salary differences smaller or the same compared to PP? I'm wondering if the opportunity cost is higher if you're say a radiologist compared to a family physician? Or higher paid specialties in PP also get more at the VA?
you can actually see starting salaries on this site: USAJOBS - The Federal Government's official employment site just type in the speciality you want to look at

I was looking at psychiatrists for an example, and I did see some pretty high salaries in CA (not LA though) compared to other places in the midwest. it does seem pretty varied.
 

Osteoth

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Oh, here's one more: 12 weeks of paid parental leave if you've been at the VA for at least a year. That's in addition to accumulating 5 weeks of vacation + 13 sick days + 11 federal holidays per year with an 86 day max leave carryover.

You get federal holidays off at the VA as a hospitalist?
 

Retriever42

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Are the salary numbers you're citing including the locality adjustment? So does that mean that for instance a VA job in LA would pay you more than one in the midwest, which is basically the opposite of private practice?

Also, are the specialty salary differences smaller or the same compared to PP? I'm wondering if the opportunity cost is higher if you're say a radiologist compared to a family physician? Or higher paid specialties in PP also get more at the VA?
Yes, includes locality adjustment. Only basic pay is published as locality is region-specific.

There is a wider discrepancy for specialty salary between VA and non-VA, but remember that differences between practice setting varies more than specialty. A concierge PCP may make more than an academic orthopedic surgeon. A nocturnist working in the midwest community may make more than a vascular surgery professor in a coastal city. There are small anesthesia groups in affluent areas making a killing because of their insurance mix. So keep that stuff in mind when comparing across specialties.
 
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NXSRICHA

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It depends on which VA you work for. If you work at the VA during residency or fellowship training, you would know if it’s a good one or not. Great benefits! No layoffs or salaries cut during pandemic or reduced caseload. Max pay is at 400k, can’t be more than the president. And there are many physicians making close to or at the max salary.
 
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MavFab

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What are the requirements to retire with health insurance? That's a huge benefit.
 
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emergentmd

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I am on the back half of my career and would jump at a VA job now from what you guys are saying. Work a Cush job for 5 yrs, get a pension/lifetime health doing 2/3 typical private hours?

At this stage, I don't care how much red tape there is. Let me sip my coffee, see a few pts, and retire. Where do I sign up?
 
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formerF1DO

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I am on the back half of my career and would jump at a VA job now from what you guys are saying. Work a Cush job for 5 yrs, get a pension/lifetime health doing 2/3 typical private hours?

At this stage, I don't care how much red tape there is. Let me sip my coffee, see a few pts, and retire. Where do I sign up?
usajobs.gov
 

DoctwoB

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I can echo what some others have said. I spent a year at the VA as a resident (loved it) and my wife works at one.

Pay is generally less then PP. For Urology it is around ~300 rather then 450+ in private practice. For primary care/hospitalist it is low 200s compared to mid/high 200s in my region for pp. This is partially compensated for by benefits, including TSP (401k equivalent) match, the pension (1% of your salary per year, 5 years to vest), and more vacation/holiday/sick leave then any pp job.

The main difference, however, is the practice environment. Usually it is slower paced with fewer patients per hour. Many pcps like this, as you get longer patient slots (1 hr for new patient, 30 for established vs. 30min/15min being more standard in private practice). There is a lot of beaurocracy in some ways (try getting your ID replaced, EMR access updates, etc), but other things are extremely streamlined. For example the formulary is the formulary. You know what is or isn't covered and there is no insurance hassles. The patient population is usually pretty sick, high rates of comorbidity, smoking, high rates of psychiatric comorbidity, but often very grateful and adherent. The EMR, CPRS, can be painful, but once you're used to it some people swear by it.

It is a great option for those who value the patient population or pace of work over making maximum dollars.
 
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RetinaDude

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Is it fairly straightforward to apply for a VA physician job? Or is there a lot of red tape with this process as well? From dealing with different VAs, as a physician and family member of a vet, it seems nothing is a simple process. I love taking care of the vets though. They are by far some of my favorite pts, and have been since my days of residency and fellowship
 

esob

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I've know you all this time and you're just telling us this now!?!
:1geek: ;)

IKR, back when I was a tiny baby premed I sent VA hopeful a message basically asking the same question as the OP and wondered why I never got a response :D

OP, my general inquiries have basically echoed what has been said in this thread. Fewer hours, less pay. I know several providers that have worked at and then left the VA for other jobs. In at least two of those cases, it was because the fewer hours parts changed but the pay remained the same.
 
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formerF1DO

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Is it fairly straightforward to apply for a VA physician job? Or is there a lot of red tape with this process as well? From dealing with different VAs, as a physician and family member of a vet, it seems nothing is a simple process. I love taking care of the vets though. They are by far some of my favorite pts, and have been since my days of residency and fellowship
In my case, lots of red tape. I applied on April of my last training year. To start seamlessly on July 1st. I started late August. I did locums for that July elsewhere. Same slow red tape with transfers, based on my observation of colleagues, moving to other VA locations.
 

VA Hopeful Dr

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IKR, back when I was a tiny baby premed I sent VA hopeful a message basically asking the same question as the OP and wondered why I never got a response :D

OP, my general inquiries have basically echoed what has been said in this thread. Fewer hours, less pay. I know several providers that have worked at and then left the VA for other jobs. In at least two of those cases, it was because the fewer hours parts changed but the pay remained the same.
Ha, yeah I deserve to be called out on that. I'm terrible about reading PMs and making a note to myself to go back and answer them and then forgetting about them for weeks to months.
 
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Megalofyia

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Gotta put in my 2 cents given all the VA hate in earlier posts.

I work as a hospitalist at a VA on the west coast. Make around 250k base + 15k bonus every year. About 30 weeks of clinical work, majority w teaching team, no other responsibilities when not on service. Benefits include 5% 401k match (called TSP), pension at 1% per year which I value at close to an additional 25-30k / year if you were to save for it yourself, med/dental/vision, FSA both dependent care and health care. COLA every year.

People also don't realize that if you retire w your VA health insurance for the last 5 years, the VA will pay it for life after retirement. That's huge.

Job is chill, average census around 10-14, working 7/7. Nearby academic hospital gives the opportunity to get as involved as I want, but no requirement to do so.

Intangibles: no insurance to deal with, utilization reviews happen, but I still make the call because there's no need for insurance approval, easy access formulary, streamlined capitated system, lots of admin support at least in our group.

VA gets a bad rep because it's so political and has a non-existent marketing budget. The job is all cattle, no hat. We had 15 applications for one spot during a typical year. My colleagues especially at academic centers making 10-20% less and work 50% more. If that's your thing, VA probably isn't for you.

Do you have to stay physically on site for 12 hours on your on days?
 
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