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Resurrecting an old thread with some new info. I just got an offer from the Salt Lake City VA. I am a new grad (MPAS) with 7 years HCE as an Army Medic (with overseas tours,) and I speak English and Spanish. They offered me a GS-11, Step 5 spot. $81,264/yr

I think this is fair.

 

On the pay grade scale, GS-11 is similar to an active duty first lieutenant, which is where a PA starts as a new grad. I'm currently a junior captain. If I leave the military when my contract is finished and decide to seek a GS position, I would absolutely not seek below a GS-12 (my rank equivalent) and would likely seek GS-13 if the area they want to place in is undesirable or if I stayed in to become a senior captain.

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takes a LONG time to get hired   working to getting into for over 2 years now - biggest issue is "that job is posted for a NP and you are not an NP" then I ask who to talk about this to and they g

IM/Prim. Care

Imagine being perceived as the "GATEKEEPER" employed by "THE MAN" to obstruct them from getting ALL deserved and wanted where 2-3/7 are posers looking to get a check to supplement their income.   Af

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

To resurrect an old thread, here are some observations from a new hire after four days of orientation and one day in clinic:

1)  what a mess; orientation was a waste of time, aside from the "rah-rah" from admin types who tried to downplay the news media impressions (and they may be right for all I know) stating that many issues had already been addressed and that no impropriety had been found at this facility

2)  VA pays/reimburses for no professional expenses, at least in my clinic area (though supposedly a former classmate in a surgical clinic at the facility gets NCCPA reimbursement)

3)  no apparent in-service training on EMR (sink or swim it appears)

4)  no COL raises I was told for the past three years

5)  "great benefits" aren't so great, IMO.  Insurance coverage was cheaper for me to continue through wife's employer as opposed to Feds

6)  not a good sign when the head of the department makes a repeated point of dissing the system during required review of department specific orientation (skimmed through it)

7)  was told in clinic that position life cycle is about 5 years on average

8) "vets are greedy b*stards", or so I was told (not surprised based on some of the comments here)

9)  reoccurring theme seems to be that if one complains enough, they get what they want, whether it is narcs, equipment, etc. as a result of admin using Sir Isaac Newton's observation that stool rolls downhill

10) no access to computer system since required codes weren't available, nor was my ID badge (you would think that HR would cover this during FOUR days of orientation)

11)  local transportation rail pass takes TWO weeks to process (huh?), but at least they DO pay for this

12)  was told by HR that I didn't need to request a parking pass like all the other new hires since I would be provided a pass through my department for physician lot parking.  Dept. knows nothing of this, even though my vehicle will probably never see the light of day of that facility anyway

13)  dress code depends on whatever you wish to wear, as long as it looks professional (scrub top, cargo pants, and tennis shoes it will be)

14)  it is fun to watch the first year residents try to present a new patient to the attending after being out for a month and a half

15)  education reimbursement apparently isn't available until after you work for them two years (so much for the master's degree) though I haven't found that in writing anywhere as of yet

16)  union rep during presentation was so over-the-top that I didn't even give it a second thought (never been offered union membership in any prior position)

17)  apparently one federal agency doesn't communicate with the other; they still do two-step TSTs as opposed to IGRAs, and they need to be made aware that negative HbsAb titers don't need "a booster" but instead a full repeat of the series one addiitonal time

18)  to show how screwed up the admin process is follow this train of thought:  no state licensure is required to work there though you do need your DEA supposedly (one PA there now for 16 years and doesn't have one).  To get a DEA you have to have state DPS approval.  To get state DPS approval you need what?  A state license to practice.

19)  I did make the dept. head aware of our stool-based CME process change starting 1/1/15 and the inherent increased cost (that they presently don't cover).  Apparently one of the attendings is on the facility PA committee (didn't know that they had one) so he heard me talking to the dept. head from around the corner and apparently said he'd look into it (I'm holding my breath and turning blue at the moment).

 

Overall impression:  I think I'm going to negatively impact the position life cycle but I'll take it day by day for a while.  It isn't like I'm seeing a ton of other agreeable options, well, except for the Hawaii posting but that isn't realistic at this time (unless I leave wife and disabled mom behind).  Hmm....

 

 

Resurrecting an old thread with some new info. I just got an offer from the Salt Lake City VA. I am a new grad (MPAS) with 7 years HCE as an Army Medic (with overseas tours,) and I speak English and Spanish. They offered me a GS-11, Step 5 spot. $81,264/yr

 

Bump.

 

How are the VA jobs going for you guys so far?

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Mine is going well so far. With the spotlight on the VA, there is lots of chart review, and there are plenty of boxes to check, but the chief of my service is very open and a great, passionate mentor. Also, I enjoy being the only provider in the National Guard for the Holistic Medicine service, so there is a high level of friendliness towards military obligations.

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To resurrect an old thread, here are some observations from a new hire after four days of orientation and one day in clinic:

1)  what a mess; orientation was a waste of time, aside from the "rah-rah" from admin types who tried to downplay the news media impressions (and they may be right for all I know) stating that many issues had already been addressed and that no impropriety had been found at this facility

2)  VA pays/reimburses for no professional expenses, at least in my clinic area (though supposedly a former classmate in a surgical clinic at the facility gets NCCPA reimbursement)

3)  no apparent in-service training on EMR (sink or swim it appears)

4)  no COL raises I was told for the past three years

5)  "great benefits" aren't so great, IMO.  Insurance coverage was cheaper for me to continue through wife's employer as opposed to Feds

6)  not a good sign when the head of the department makes a repeated point of dissing the system during required review of department specific orientation (skimmed through it)

7)  was told in clinic that position life cycle is about 5 years on average

8) "vets are greedy b*stards", or so I was told (not surprised based on some of the comments here)

9)  reoccurring theme seems to be that if one complains enough, they get what they want, whether it is narcs, equipment, etc. as a result of admin using Sir Isaac Newton's observation that stool rolls downhill

10) no access to computer system since required codes weren't available, nor was my ID badge (you would think that HR would cover this during FOUR days of orientation)

11)  local transportation rail pass takes TWO weeks to process (huh?), but at least they DO pay for this

12)  was told by HR that I didn't need to request a parking pass like all the other new hires since I would be provided a pass through my department for physician lot parking.  Dept. knows nothing of this, even though my vehicle will probably never see the light of day of that facility anyway

13)  dress code depends on whatever you wish to wear, as long as it looks professional (scrub top, cargo pants, and tennis shoes it will be)

14)  it is fun to watch the first year residents try to present a new patient to the attending after being out for a month and a half

15)  education reimbursement apparently isn't available until after you work for them two years (so much for the master's degree) though I haven't found that in writing anywhere as of yet

16)  union rep during presentation was so over-the-top that I didn't even give it a second thought (never been offered union membership in any prior position)

17)  apparently one federal agency doesn't communicate with the other; they still do two-step TSTs as opposed to IGRAs, and they need to be made aware that negative HbsAb titers don't need "a booster" but instead a full repeat of the series one addiitonal time

18)  to show how screwed up the admin process is follow this train of thought:  no state licensure is required to work there though you do need your DEA supposedly (one PA there now for 16 years and doesn't have one).  To get a DEA you have to have state DPS approval.  To get state DPS approval you need what?  A state license to practice.

19)  I did make the dept. head aware of our stool-based CME process change starting 1/1/15 and the inherent increased cost (that they presently don't cover).  Apparently one of the attendings is on the facility PA committee (didn't know that they had one) so he heard me talking to the dept. head from around the corner and apparently said he'd look into it (I'm holding my breath and turning blue at the moment).

 

Overall impression:  I think I'm going to negatively impact the position life cycle but I'll take it day by day for a while.  It isn't like I'm seeing a ton of other agreeable options, well, except for the Hawaii posting but that isn't realistic at this time (unless I leave wife and disabled mom behind).  Hmm....

 

Lol, have you settled in yet?  Give it a year and it won't be so bad.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Primary care from what i've heard is a beast at the VA. Particularly at the CBOCs, where providers are worked like dogs. That is just what i've heard, though. So take it with a grain of salt.

This makes sense since it's also like this in the military.

 

Have you heard anything about comp and pension in the VA system?

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The 2 people that I have talked to like it. There is a lot of documentation, of course. There is also a decent amount of investigating necessary, as our Vietnam era vets often don't have documentation in digital format. However, they said that it is rewarding when you can help a Vet with a rightful claim that would have otherwise have been denied because they didn't have/know how to track down their documents. The demand is steady, but not overwhelming. The skills of working C&P are also highly transferrable throughout the VA system, so if you want to move around a lot during your career, it's good for that.

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Have you heard anything about comp and pension in the VA system?

 

 

Imagine being perceived as the "GATEKEEPER" employed by "THE MAN" to obstruct them from getting ALL deserved and wanted where 2-3/7 are posers looking to get a check to supplement their income.

 

After a while... THAT would/could SUCK..!!!!

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  • 1 year later...

I think this is fair.

 

On the pay grade scale, GS-11 is similar to an active duty first lieutenant, which is where a PA starts as a new grad. I'm currently a junior captain. If I leave the military when my contract is finished and decide to seek a GS position, I would absolutely not seek below a GS-12 (my rank equivalent) and would likely seek GS-13 if the area they want to place in is undesirable or if I stayed in to become a senior captain.

Anybody have any new VA updates/info? I am doing a cardiology rotation at the local VA and really like it. The long slots make for a great teaching environment and also make the job appeal to me (60 NP/30 FU). I am able to run thru 40-50 EKGs with my preceptor on some days and we have started moving into echos in earnest in my second week. Have been involved in running stress tests and ran a cardio-version under his supervision my first week (we shocked the anesthesiologist who decided to reach in at last instant and adjust the line or something that got a great laugh around the dept.; an audiology consult was suggested by a nurse!).

 

Will be doing internal med here next and my neuro rotation here as well so 3/9 rotations at VA overall. The faculty and VA contact seem to like this setup as the credentialing/ background. etc was a pain.

 

How big of an advantage in hiring, if any, are VA rotation(s), veteran/deployments/medic?

 

Have also been poking around some with HR and here is what I have/haven't learned (corrections welcome from any who have more firm knowledge).

-SLRP available up to 24k/yr for 5 years ($120k total, can't be in default, no pvt. loans). It is done as reimbursement so you have to make the pmts. up front (I could probably pull it off at $85K but would be lean). Nothing was mentioned about a delay period for this. Is there any such as the 2 year someone mentioned? I can ask about this and report back.

---Pay at this facility is capped at 94K as this is the step 10 salary (I think GS11); step 5-6 is 85ish i think. HR person told me that with NPs they are able to pay fair market value whereas with PAs they are not allowed to do this. Was told it may be higher in other areas as we are very low COL by national stds.

-- I was also told, as mentioned above, that PAS can apply for NP slots and that individual depts. can also request to hire a PA (I'm sure that would be a fast process..). I am assuming that the same limitations on PA salary apply, regardless.

--I did not hear anything about COLA so need to ask about this as well , but I'm guessing it's not a thing right now.

--I am also told that you get a 401K as well as qualify for a pension after x years. This along with loan repayment of 24K if it were available right away would make salary acceptable. If had to wait 2 years, not as much (although one thought I've had is if the pace were similar to what it is in my rotation clinic, I might have enough time and energy to moonlight 1-2 shifts a week, even as new grad).

 

Someone mentioned over on a recent thread that if there was one rule that could be changed it would be to allow us to bill MC directly. My impression that the equivalent for the VA would be to allow them to pay local FMV to PAs the same way they are for NPs. This difference seems arbitrary and capricious esp. since they use many FNPs as PCPs and we are better trained out of school to fill an independent provider role (differentials, intense pharm and stuff..)

 

Along these lines, does anyone know anything about any active outreach the AAPA or other are doing to address this or any other issues with PAs at the VA? In some ways the unequal rules vs. NPs seem similar to many you see on the outside which seems odd to me as the military, esp. the Army is so PA friendly and the VA isn't bound by state practice guidelines. Has nursing been active in advocating for nurses in the VA? I just feel like maybe if I knew how this evolved I would understand it better.

 

Thoughts, ideas, new info on working at the VA?

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Roger777,

I'm guessing you have a military background. As such, there are several different hiring authorities you can use to impact your hiring status. VEOA, VRA are just two to look at. There's also a pathway to hiring if you have a svc connection and need assistance in gaining a VA position with the Voc Rehab program for placement if you don't need further training after school. Send me a pm and I can help you navigate through the options. Of course, of all this depends on the HR folks, the Medical Chiefs making the hiring positions, and whether or not the nursing union is affecting hiring, which can be very frustrating, as the AGFE has prevented many people with impeccable skills barred from employment in their local VA.

In regards to salary, you can always use a COLA, cost of living calculator that the VA uses to add to salary, so even your base salary may be x$ but once you add in the COLA, you may receive another 15-25K.

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VA = one screwed up agency!!

 

 

So after watching since 2002 for the local CBOC to hire a PA they finally are looking at it... they advertised top of scale at $98k!!! I called them on this as the NP TOS was $110k

 

They reposted with $121k as the TOS

 

I called and applied - then was told that this was in fact not correct it was $110k as I was not in the city, but in the country and in fact pay rate was driven by the neighboring state.. WTH - they are UNABLE to hire PA's in the neighboring state as they are a solid 30% under going rates - (they were offering $45 WITH EXPERIENCE for ER PER DIEM like 4 years ago)

 

I have talked to so many different people in the main office it is insane - I am motives, a Vet, and carry a disability rating - I should be a shoe in - but NO - not at a >50% hourly pay cut from my current rate, and over $30 LESS then the local hospital system pays.

VA just doesn't get it and the NP representation is STRONG (and I have more then once heard that this is the reason they are not changing policy - they want NP's!)

 

 

So my desire to be in teh VA and work with other vets lives on, but only in theory as there is no way I want to go from a 3 day work week (20-22hours PE week) to a 5 day work week, for a $20,000 per year PAY CUT

 

 

I am done with the VA - they are not a wise agency and have not a clue about what a PA can bring to the table...

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Ventana,

As I mentioned above, this is a union problem, and they in fact control the VA and who gets hired. Case in point, prior to leaving my CBOC in SC and moving to Chicago, the same position was open in the local hospital. I have excellent marks, promoted to full pay at gs-9, and I called the HR folks. Asked the basics and was told only locals in the current AOR could apply. I pulled all strings I knew to no abandon. It's possible the new VA legislature would alleviate some of this stupidity, but I fear the DVA and Unions will shut McCain and his cronies down.

It's a shame that they are beholden to the nurses union and losing on excellent talent. My only suggestion is to look at a different region, Houston and Dallas seem to hire PA's at what I imagine are solid pay commeusarate to experience. I'm only a lowly Pre-PA and hope in 3 yrs the situation has changed for the better. Sorry to read about your experience and know the loss that the Vets will incur as a result.

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Ventana,

As I mentioned above, this is a union problem, and they in fact control the VA and who gets hired. Case in point, prior to leaving my CBOC in SC and moving to Chicago, the same position was open in the local hospital. I have excellent marks, promoted to full pay at gs-9, and I called the HR folks. Asked the basics and was told only locals in the current AOR could apply. I pulled all strings I knew to no abandon. It's possible the new VA legislature would alleviate some of this stupidity, but I fear the DVA and Unions will shut McCain and his cronies down.

It's a shame that they are beholden to the nurses union and losing on excellent talent. My only suggestion is to look at a different region, Houston and Dallas seem to hire PA's at what I imagine are solid pay commeusarate to experience. I'm only a lowly Pre-PA and hope in 3 yrs the situation has changed for the better. Sorry to read about your experience and know the loss that the Vets will incur as a result.

 

 

They do, or at least did about 2 years ago.  Hired w/o military background but 30+ years of experience at GS12 with differential as I recall.

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The culture varies from one VA to the next.  Where I am, the medical director is pushing for "nurse managers" both in primary care and in specialty clinics.  In cardiology they originally posted for a PA, but this position has stalled due to the push for a nurse manager instead.  In primary care, they have posted a position, and solicited both PA and NP applicants.  There is a PA in there doing the job temporarily now, but suspect they will be passed over due to a hand-picked NP.  The medical director seems to openly favor NPs, and actually promised this job, before it was even posted, to a different NP who declined to pursue it.

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Roger777,

I'm guessing you have a military background. As such, there are several different hiring authorities you can use to impact your hiring status. VEOA, VRA are just two to look at. There's also a pathway to hiring if you have a svc connection and need assistance in gaining a VA position with the Voc Rehab program for placement if you don't need further training after school. Send me a pm and I can help you navigate through the options. Of course, of all this depends on the HR folks, the Medical Chiefs making the hiring positions, and whether or not the nursing union is affecting hiring, which can be very frustrating, as the AGFE has prevented many people with impeccable skills barred from employment in their local VA.

In regards to salary, you can always use a COLA, cost of living calculator that the VA uses to add to salary, so even your base salary may be x$ but once you add in the COLA, you may receive another 15-25K.

Thank you for this great info. I will send a message. The VA I'm at for my rotation had one PA and he may have left for another center. HR was not familiar with him...

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VA = one screwed up agency!!

 

 

So after watching since 2002 for the local CBOC to hire a PA they finally are looking at it... they advertised top of scale at $98k!!! I called them on this as the NP TOS was $110k

 

They reposted with $121k as the TOS

 

I called and applied - then was told that this was in fact not correct it was $110k as I was not in the city, but in the country and in fact pay rate was driven by the neighboring state.. WTH - they are UNABLE to hire PA's in the neighboring state as they are a solid 30% under going rates - (they were offering $45 WITH EXPERIENCE for ER PER DIEM like 4 years ago)

 

I have talked to so many different people in the main office it is insane - I am motives, a Vet, and carry a disability rating - I should be a shoe in - but NO - not at a >50% hourly pay cut from my current rate, and over $30 LESS then the local hospital system pays.

VA just doesn't get it and the NP representation is STRONG (and I have more then once heard that this is the reason they are not changing policy - they want NP's!)

 

 

So my desire to be in teh VA and work with other vets lives on, but only in theory as there is no way I want to go from a 3 day work week (20-22hours PE week) to a 5 day work week, for a $20,000 per year PAY CUT

 

 

I am done with the VA - they are not a wise agency and have not a clue about what a PA can bring to the table...

The latest strategy to improve quality of care seems to be to go really physician heavy. They offered generous incentives to lure physicians away from local hospitals including a bonus structure with benchmarks that are pretty easy to meet (ie stuff the physician actually has control over like % of patients reporting he did a PE as opposed to things related infectious disease etc. that are more nebulous/random). BY appearances there was a mass exodus of (especially older) physicians from local hospital system to the local VA. Job board for this VA is 70% physicians. Nice if you can afford it but seems like a bit of an overreaction to criticisms about their care. How about hiring two PA's for every physician and deploying them as HC teams? Meanwhile they are worrying about overpaying PAs by 10K..

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