FY20 Special Pays Plan Released

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The FY20 pay plan NAVADMIN was released today. Here are the documents and below them is the message I sent to the Medical Corps today about the plan and changes:

The most common question I’ve received so far is what happens if you are already on a Retention Bonus (RB) and that option is removed for your specialty? For example, you are on a 4-year RB and they removed that option. In that case, you just continue on that RB agreement. There is no change, your pay doesn’t drop, and you don’t get kicked off of it.



The FY20 Medical Department Special Pays Plan has been released, is attached, and is available on the BUMED Special Pays Website. As a result, we’d like to provide some additional information and background.

As the National Defense Strategy (NDS) reminds us, “We have a responsibility to gain full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense, thereby earning the trust of Congress and the American people.” In this spirit, the Department of Defense is pursuing aggressive reforms to ensure resources are being put toward the highest priority activities. In doing so, we must be willing to make tough choices as we engage in the great power competition and execute the NDS.

As a result, Navy Medicine developed plans to align Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 special pays guidance with warfighter requirements and decided to reduce or eliminate some special and incentive pays for select medical specialties. This decision was not taken lightly, and was made within the greater context of supporting operational requirements, while balancing force structure and in a fiscally constrained environment. Special and incentive pay reductions were limited to what was absolutely necessary based on operational requirements. Major changes include:

  • Increased Incentive Pay with 4-year and 6-year Retention Bonus contracts for certain specialties to include anesthesiology, general surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, and subspecialty category I.
  • Limits ability to terminate early and renegotiate contracts for certain specialties to include: obstetrician/gynecology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, urology, pathology, family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, nuclear medicine, radiology, and radiation oncology.
  • Eliminates 6-year Retention Bonus for family medicine.
  • Eliminates 4-year Retention Bonus for certain specialties to include: obstetrician/gynecology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, urology, pathology, family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, nuclear medicine, radiology, and radiation oncology.
  • Reduces Retention Bonus dollar amounts by $2,000 per year for certain specialties to include: obstetrics/gynecology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, urology, family medicine, and general internal medicine.
  • Reduces Retention bonus dollar amounts by $3,000 per year for certain specialties to include: pathology, pediatrics, radiology, and radiation oncology.

There are other changes not listed above, and the special pay changes are not at all related to the transition to DHA.

To the entire Medical Corps, we would like to emphasize that we will reassess special and incentive pay each year to determine if any changes need to be made to manage operational requirements. This is only a one year pay plan, and we will continue to advocate on your behalf to the best of our ability in future years. Some specialties are growing in both size and amounts of special pay offered. In addition, Navy Medicine continues to offer exciting opportunities to physicians that are generally unavailable in the private sector like flight training, Special Operations experience, undersea medicine, and others. Doing these unique things is why many of us joined the Navy.

To current medical students, interns, general medical officers, flight surgeons, and undersea medical officers, we’d like to emphasize that there will still be Graduate Medical Education opportunities available for all specialties. Some specialties are growing as Navy Medicine aligns to better support readiness and the warfighter.

As was sent out in yesterday’s notice, Specialty Leaders and individual officers should not contact the BUMED Special Pay office directly. The Special Pay Office will have an increased workload over the next several months with processing the requests received. Here is who everyone should communicate with:

  • Individual members should work through their Special Pay Coordinators with questions.  Should the Coordinators have questions, they are the liaison to the BUMED Special Pays office.
  • Specialty Leaders should reach out to CDR Melissa Austin in my office with questions, and I will serve as an alternate POC. For questions we can’t answer, we will work to get you the answers ASAP.

Thank you for everything you do every day for the Medical Corps.


Joel M. Schofer, MD, MBA, CPE, FAAEM, FAAPL

8 thoughts on “FY20 Special Pays Plan Released

    CDR Quitter said:
    February 28, 2020 at 00:01

    This is terribly disappointing for primary care physicians. Spin it all you want but the conclusions are obvious. It’s sad that Navy Medicine has been gutted. I guess there is no reason to retain physicians when you’d rather not take care of patients.


    Dept Head said:
    February 28, 2020 at 11:32

    The Navy has, concordant with announcing its shift to readiness, messaged harder times for many of the specialties that are conceptually less readily applicable directly on the battlefield in times of conflict. While deeply disheartened, none of my colleagues in Internal medicine, Heme/Onc, obstetrics, or pediatrics were particularly surprised by this change. Many of my sub-specialist colleagues were expecting worse, and wound up somewhat reassured. The significant decrease in funding for family medicine, however, was a disconcerting surprise. It appears the current tac is to rely more heavily on FM RNPs and PAs as the Navy moves forward? From a cost standpoint, this is perhaps understandable. As a leader, It would have been beneficial to have known in advance that this too was part of the new approach.


      Joel Schofer, MD, MBA, CPE responded:
      February 29, 2020 at 07:45

      Unfortunately, we were not permitted to release anything until the very end as it was in negotiation the whole way right up to the end.


    Keith Roxo MD MPH said:
    March 1, 2020 at 19:04

    For newly board certified physicians, what is the delineating factor between a BCP request and a retroactive BCP request? My fellow graduates an I are board certified as of 1 Jan 2020 per the American Board of Preventive Medicine, however we felt we couldn’t put the request in for BCP until the NAVADMIN came out. Additionally, while we can be viewed as board certified on the ABPM web lookup, we do not have our physical letters yet and may not for another couple of months. Must we wait to request BCP until the physical letter arrives to include as an enclosure?


      Joel Schofer, MD, MBA, CPE responded:
      March 1, 2020 at 19:07

      Your requests would be retroactive because you are requesting a date that has already past. I think that if you can show any proof that you are board-certified it will fly.


        Keith Roxo MD MPH said:
        March 1, 2020 at 19:08

        Thank you, sir.


    Bill Shimeall, MD MPH said:
    May 15, 2020 at 09:44

    I am fellowship trained in General Internal Medicine (IM Faculty Development). An I considered Subspecialty Cat IV (in accordance with Note 4 in the FY20 MEDICAL CORPS AC SPECIAL PAYS GUIDANCE chart) or am I considered General Internal Medicine only, when determining which Retention Bonuses I am eligible for? Thank you.


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