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Records show 4,188 bonuses were paid over the past three fiscal years to more than 2,150 employees, including doctors, nurses, administrators, secretaries and cleaners. Nearly 650 VA employees received a bonus in each of the three years. The VA has about 2,500 employees.
The bonus totals increased from $2.5 million in 2011, to $3.5 million in 2012 and $3.9 million in 2013. The figures obtained by The Republic are much larger than figures recently posted online by two watchdog groups.
They increased under regional director Sharon Helman, who was placed on leave after the scandal broke.
Helman herself received a bonus worth more than $9,000 in 2013, on top of her $170,000 salary. A similar bonus awarded earlier this year has been rescinded.
"The VA employee recognition and awards program provides an entire range of rewards to recognize employees who make contributions that support goals and objectives across the facility," said Jean Schaefer, a Phoenix VA spokeswoman.
In Arizona, there were 1,715 veterans in the Phoenix VA and 1,115 in the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System in Prescott waiting for initial appointments for 90 days or more. In addition 1,075 in Phoenix and 139 in Prescott were not on any scheduled waiting list for a first appointment, according to VA data.