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AMERICAN NURSES ASSOCIATION TESTIFIES IN FAVOR OF AMENDING DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN AFFAIRS NURSE PAY ACT

 AMERICAN NURSES ASSOCIATION TESTIFIES IN FAVOR OF AMENDING
 DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN AFFAIRS NURSE PAY ACT
 WASHINGTON, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, April 29, Franklin Oliver, RN, representing the American Nurses Association (ANA), will testify before the Subcommittee on Hospitals and Health Care of the House Veterans Committee, urging Congress to amend the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) Nurse Pay Act of 1990. Oliver, a Persian Gulf War veteran, has been an RN for 23 years and currently works in the emergency department of the Miami Veterans Administration Medical Center. Oliver is also the chairperson of his facility's RN collective bargaining unit represented by the Florida Nurses Association.
 Oliver addresses the problems associated with the implementation of locality pay system (LPS), which was established by legislation to help make DVA facility salaries competitive with the private sector: "Following implementation of the Nurse Pay Act in April of 1991, ANA began receiving complaints from DVA nurses who informed us that the original intent of the legislation was not being met and that the new wage structure was, in fact, creating disincentives for nurses who worked in DVA facilities."
 Oliver goes on to explain that while entry levels have become more competitive, nurses in the higher pay levels are now experiencing salary compression and pay retention. Because of these complaints, ANA, in conjunction with the Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs, began working with the DVA and Veterans Affairs Committee to develop solutions to these problems.
 Oliver explains that one of the findings was that the new wage structures had many times been based on inaccurate data collection from competitor hospitals or on poorly defined geographic areas used to determine the local labor market. And, he adds, "ANA received reports that survey teams established by the local facilities in many instances did not include nurses and were, therefore, not adequately prepared to determine comparable positions."
 In his testimony, Oliver makes recommendations, on behalf of ANA, to the subcommittee regarding the proposed amendments to the nurse locality pay system, including:
 -- The establishment of a fifth grade (assistant director) that
 will relieve pay compression of experienced nurses.
 -- Give facility directors the ability to extend the pay range so
 that no person is in pay retention or is without salary
 progression opportunities.
 -- ANA opposes any attempts to legislate practice standards.
 Revision of the qualification standards must be the
 responsibility of DVA nursing service who can change them as
 the practice standards change within the nursing profession.
 -- The survey process must include nursing input since those
 facilities that are having the least amount of problems with
 the new system are those that included nurses in the data
 collection process.
 The hearing will begin at 9:00 a.m.,. on Wednesday, April 29, in Room 335 of the Cannon House Office Building, First Street and Independence Avenue, S.E.east of the American Nurses Association, 202-554-4444, ext. 243/ CO: American Nurses Association ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU: LEG


DC-MH -- DC010 -- 3744 04/28/92 11:41 EDT
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Date:Apr 28, 1992
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