WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union representing over 265,000 Veterans Affairs employees, today celebrated the introduction of the VA Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Modernization Act (H.R. 3693), which increases the amount of money clinical employees can be reimbursed for continuing professional education.
The current program only allows for reimbursements to be made to board-certified physicians and dentists. If enacted, all VA clinicians including nurses, pharmacists, and psychologists would be eligible to take advantage of this program and would not need to be board certified to participate.
“AFGE is proud to endorse this legislation. Maintaining and reforming programs such as this is a crucial component to recruiting and retaining top talent to care for America’s heroes,” said AFGE National President Everett Kelley. “Too many times, VA health care providers have left the federal service due to better pay and benefits in the private sector, resulting in thousands of critical positions being left unfilled for years.”
The bipartisan legislation would also increase the reimbursement limit for physicians and dentists from $1,000 per year to $4,000 per year. All other VA clinicians for the first time would be allowed to receive up to $2,000 in continuing education reimbursements.
“Thank you, Chairwoman Brownley and Dr. Miller-Meeks, for fighting to update the CPE allowance for the first time in 30 years,” said AFGE National VA Council President Alma Lee. “For years the federal government, especially the VA, has been hollowed out. We saw firsthand during the COVID-19 pandemic the impact understaffing has on our workforce and the veterans we care for. In order to entice clinicians to pursue and make a career at the VA, expanding continuing education benefits is a must.”