Special Pays Update – Senate Proposal to Increase Pays and BUMED Pays Update

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FY21 NDAA – SASC Bill Released

Please note the good news below, including a PROPOSED increase in special pays, in the legislative summary from the BUMED Legislative Liaison. While it is just a proposal at this point, at least it is a sign that they read the GAO report that concluded that military physicians are grossly underpaid and that they appreciate the extra efforts everyone has been giving due to COVID:

The SASC has released their version of the FY21 NDAA. Please note the bill still needs to be voted on by the Senate, which will include amendments being proposed. I have attached two modified documents: One includes sections 602 and 612 (described below), the other includes all of Title VII – Health Care Provisions. The full bill can be found here.

Below is a brief summary of notable legislative provisions included in the Bill:

Sec. 602. Hazardous duty pay for members of the Armed Forces performing duty in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019.

Sec. 612. Increase in special and incentive pays for officers in health professions. This provision increases the amounts of the accession bonus, retention bonus, incentive pay, and board certification pay.

Sec. 703. Waiver of fees charged to certain civilians for emergency medical treatment provided at military medical treatment facilities. A military MTF may waive a fee charged to a civilian who in not a covered beneficiary under certain conditions. Please note there is related report language (to be conducted by GAO) in Sec. 751 entitled Assessment of receipt by civilians of emergency medical treatment at military medical treatment facilities.

Sec. 721. Modifications to transfer of Army Medical Research and Development Command and public health commands to Defense Health Agency. While this section is largely focused on Army and preserving the infrastructure and personnel of MRMC/MRDC, it does include language very similar to the house language with respect to delaying the transition of R&D and PH to DHA. The HASC is delaying until 2025, SASC is 2024.

Sec. 748. Audit of medical conditions of tenants in privatized military housing. GAO audit of the medical conditions of eligible individuals and the association between adverse exposures of such individuals in unsafe or unhealthy housing units and the health of such individuals.

With both the HASC and SASC bills moving to the floor of their respective chambers, we will keep you updated if we find anything of significant interest to Navy Medicine from amendments that are adopted. Once the House and Senate pass their versions of the bill, we will produce a Navy Medicine Leadership Side-by-Side including both versions of the Bill.

One of my Army colleagues sent me this summary of the proposed changes to the maximum pay caps:

  1. HPO Accession Bonus (AB) from $30,000/yr. to $100,000/yr.
  2. Critically Short Wartime Specialty Accession Bonus (CSWSAB) from $100,000/yr. to $200,000/yr.
  3. Retention Bonus (RB) from $75,000/yr. to $150,000/yr.
  4. 4. Incentive Pay (IP) for physicians and dentists from $100,000/yr. to $200,000/yr. and ancillary specialties from $15,000/yr. to $50,000/yr.
  5. Board Certification Pay (BCP) from $6,000/yr. to $15,000/yr.


Special Pays Update from BUMED

Here is a cut/paste of a message e-mailed to the Special Pay POCs that spells out the various Incentive Pays (IPs). As usual, anyone with questions should address them with their command admin/HRD, or to the BUMED Special Pays email address:



Ladies and Gentlemen, please make sure this email is disseminated as much as possible. As you can see by all the names and email addresses, there are a large number of contacts for the special pays office, and this is only the ones we are aware of, and we communicate with on a regular basis. There are even more than this we work with, but do not necessarily have up to date POCs identified, such as Fleet Support Teams etc.

This email is to remind everyone of the dates for submitting for Incentive Pay, which particularly for Medical Corps is vital in the summer months. This information is also in the Pay Guidance for each Corps, and the Special Pays Information Power Point under reference on the BUMED Special Pays webpage.

For those MC completing residency 30 June, the GMO IP should have already been submitted to BUMED Special Pays. If not then get it done ASAP. For all commands when a MC or DC officer completes a residency 30 June, they cannot submit for the specialty IP until 60 days out from the effective date, which means if they completed the residency at another command they cannot submit for the specialty IP until they are at your command. Make sure individuals checking in are advised on when, and how to submit, for the IP at your command. DO NOT assume they know, or someone else in the command will tell them. Send out emails, advisories, or anything that will get out to your command telling them they need to submit. We are continuing to receive too many retroactive requests, and many do not have justification to support why an officer has not been paid for over a year.

Medical Corps –

New interns reporting to AD from Medical school via USUHS or HPSP etc. Eligibility for IP is 3 months after completing medical school, and on AD, so if an officer completes Med School 3 May 2020, is eligible for Internship IP effective 3 August 2020, provided on AD on that date.

Residency IP – If completing Internship eligible for IP 3 months after completing internship, but must be licensed. If not licensed at 3 months, then not eligible for IP until become licensed, and eligibility date is date licensed. If entering residency after GMO/UMO/Flight Surgery tour, then eligibility date is residency start date, and must submit.

GMO IP – If completing internship, same as residency IP, 3 months after completing internship, and licensed. If completing residency, eligible for GMO IP day after completing residency if residency completed while on AD.

Specialty IP – 3 months after completing residency/fellowship.

Dental Corps –

General Dentist IP – 3 months after completing dental school, and must be licensed. If not licensed at 3 months, then eligibility date is date licensed.

Specialty IP – Same as MC specialty IP, 3 months after completing residency.


Specialty IP is same as MC specialty IP 3 months after completing qualifying training program.

14 thoughts on “Special Pays Update – Senate Proposal to Increase Pays and BUMED Pays Update

    Dominic Romanowski said:
    June 30, 2020 at 11:33

    Any gouge regarding physician assistant bonus?


    New Grad said:
    August 31, 2020 at 22:12

    Would you recommend recent grads to hold off on IP requests to see if specialty pays are increased?


      Joel Schofer, MD, MBA, CPE responded:
      September 1, 2020 at 08:40

      New grads should have already applied for the GMO incentive pay (IP) but will have to wait for the FY21 pay plan to request their specialty IP. They have no choice.


    Heather said:
    September 11, 2020 at 00:05

    So looks like the bill passed the senate at the end of July…from what I can tell the changes to pay were included in the final bill. Any word on how or when the pay increases will take effect?


      Joel Schofer, MD, MBA, CPE responded:
      September 11, 2020 at 08:42

      NDAA 21 won’t be final until after the election and we won’t know until then if the pay stuff was included.


    Peter said:
    December 3, 2020 at 21:13

    Looks like the above changes in special pays made it into the conference report for the NDAA 2021. Any idea how the increases in the RB and IP would be divided out by specialty? Is the aim for across the board increases to all specialties or to increase the cap to be able to better match civilian pay for Anesthesia/Ortho/Gen surgery?

    All assuming the NDAA passes, which seems relatively certain given the margins in the house and senate versions passed this summer.


      Joel Schofer, MD, MBA, CPE responded:
      December 4, 2020 at 10:03

      I think we will just have to see how things play out. That is the honest answer. I’ll believe this when it is signed and I see how the Navy is planning to handle this.


    Thomas Holcombe said:
    December 9, 2020 at 14:26

    Any idea if the incentive pay will still decrease to 8k for gmos returning to residency?


    LCDR Charles Martin said:
    December 12, 2020 at 14:04

    Good afternoon Sir. I submitted my IP for PREV Med (graduated June 30, 2020) to the special pays coordinator at Camp Lejeune. If the rates do get increased can I submit an updated IP and back date that to Oct 1st to get the difference in the amounts?


      Joel Schofer, MD, MBA, CPE responded:
      December 12, 2020 at 17:18

      You can’t request any IP requests until the FY21 plan comes out, then it gets backdated to 1 OCT 2020. You can’t use the FY20 rate past 30 SEP 2020.


    Maj Ramos said:
    February 21, 2021 at 13:11

    Good Morning Dr. Schofer,

    Any updates regarding this topic? I contacted the folks at AF special pays, and they mentioned they wouldn’t know anything till the FY22 plan comes out. Thanks for all your posts!




      Joel Schofer, MD, MBA, CPE responded:
      February 21, 2021 at 13:18

      I have to agree. Discussions about the FY22 pay plan are just beginning. We likely won’t know until late 2021 or early 2022.


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