By Dustin Schuett, DO
Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense or the United States Government.
The 2018 Navy Graduate Medical Education Selection Board results were released 12 DEC 2018. For a select few Navy physicians pursuing fellowship, the opportunity exists to take a Retention Bonus (RB, formerly Multi-year Specialty Pay) and pay back their fellowship obligation and the RB obligation concurrently without extending their Navy commitment.
To be eligible, the physician must meet all of the following requirements:
- Be at 8 years or more of active duty time in the Medical Corps.
- Have completed all pre-commissioning obligation time:
- All initially obligated HPSP/USUHS/HSCP time AND any ROTC or USNA obligated time
- This does not include residency obligation time
Essentially, if you went to medical school on a 4 year HPSP scholarship, have completed or will have completed 4 or more years of combined GMO and post-residency payback time BEFORE starting fellowship and have 8 total years active duty Medical Corps time, you’re likely eligible.
Here is my personal example:
4 year HPSP > 1 year internship > 2 years as a GMO > 5 years of residency > 2 years post-residency staff time (4 total including GMO time) = 4 years of total payback completing HPSP obligation, 10 years in Medical Corps
As an orthopaedic surgeon, our annual Incentive Pay (IP) is $59,000. I was able to take a 3 year RB which increases my IP to $73,000 annually plus an additional $33,000 lump sum paid annually for a total of $106,000/year, a $47,000 increase per year without increasing my obligation time.
If you have questions about special pay, please follow the current BUMED guidance:
If there are any questions please direct them to your HRD/Admin/Special Pays Coordinator, or Specialty Leader, who will forward to BUMED inquiries they are unable answer at the command level, but no individuals should be bypassing their local command admin support, since they need to be able to understand the issues, and responses, to be able to better support the command.
For more information, see the Medical Corps Special Pay Guidance that can be found on the BUMED Special Pays website.
The FY19 BUMED special pays guidance is now posted on the BUMED Special Pays website. The changes largely involve the Retention Bonuses (RB) and changes are highlighted in yellow on each Corps specific document.
If you want to read the BUMED talking points on the changes, they can be found here.
Here are the official BUMED talking points on the FY19 special pays plan. The pay plan guidance for each Corps is expected to be released early next week.
NOTE: The guidance currently posted on the BUMED special pays website is from FY18 and not FY19. This new guidance only applies to FY19 pays.
Navy Medicine’s mission does not change – to keep the Navy and Marine Corps family healthy, ready and on the job. Ensuring the Department of the Navy has a ready medical force to meet assigned operational missions remains paramount. To do this, we must maximize recruitment and retention tools such as special and incentive pay to attract and retain medical department officers with critical specialties.
Navy Medicine is responsible for properly aligning its uniformed force structure to support the medical capabilities of the Navy and Marine Corps operating forces. The Fiscal Year 2019 special pays guidance focuses on meeting congressional intent of NDAA 2017 which specifically focuses on the improvement of infrastructure and alignment to operational readiness.
Navy Medicine analyzed current manning data, end-strength forecasts, loss and retention rates, training timeframes, recruitment rates, and Department of Labor statistics to craft the FY19 Medical Department Special Pays Guidance.
- The Department of Defense and the Navy are taking a critical look at force structure across the services and within each military department in an effort to align to defense planning guidance priorities and to meet CNO guidance.
- Navy Medicine is managing its medical force to meet the needs of the Navy and Marine Corps.
- Navy Medicine must have properly aligned uniformed force structure to meet the medical capabilities of the Navy and Marine Corps operating forces.
- Navy Medicine uses special and incentive pay, coupled with other personnel management tools, to influence recruitment and retention behavior and ensure we have the right specialty mix, experience, and talent to meet our mission.
- Changes to the FY19 Medical Department Special Pays Guidance provide Navy Medicine with significant flexibility and enhanced options for the recruitment and retention of needed specialties.
- Navy Medicine increased accession and retention numbers in key specialty areas.
- Navy Medicine carefully considered these changes to optimize personnel career progression and talent management.
- The vast majority of officers eligible for special and incentive pays within Navy Medicine will be minimally impacted; there will be some impact on a few select specialties.
- Updates include the following:
- Accession Bonus:
- Updated list of eligible specialties for the Critically Short Wartime Skills Accession Bonus to include cardio-thoracic surgery, trauma/critical care surgery, and medical technology, and eliminated internal medicine, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, and pediatrics.
- Increased accession bonus amounts for critical specialties to include aerospace medicine, anesthesia, emergency medicine, family practice, orthopedics, preventive medicine, psychiatry, pulmonary/critical care, radiology, urology, and nurse anesthetist.
- Authorized a direct accession critical care nurse to forgo the accession bonus and request retention bonus upon reporting to the first permanent command (must meet board certification & education/training criteria).
- Retention Bonus:
- Added 6-year retention bonus for critical specialties to include general surgery, category I subspecialties, orthopedics, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, family practice, psychiatry, pulmonary/critical care, comprehensive dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, oral maxillofacial surgery, physician assistant, clinical psychology, critical care nursing, psychiatric nursing, perioperative nursing, psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioners, family nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists.
- Added additional eligible specialties for the retention bonus to include graduate prepared Clinical Nurse Specialists in medical-surgical and emergency room nursing (must meet board certification and education/training criteria).
- Authorized critical care nurses and family nurse practitioners to take retention bonuses while under obligation for graduate education through Duty Under Instruction (DUINS), incurring a consecutive obligation.
- Authorized critical care nurses to apply for selection to DUINS as Clinical Nurse Specialists in critical care nursing while under retention bonus.
- Removed language allowing 2-year Retention Bonus for non-certified critical care nurses.
- Limited ability to terminate early and renegotiate contracts for certain specialties to include pediatrics, radiology, radiation oncology, general dentistry, endodontics, exodontia, public health dentistry, oral pathology, pediatric dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, pediatric nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioners, and certified nurse midwife.
- Limited Nurse Corps retention bonus to Commander/O-5 for all specialties except nurse anesthetists.
- Limited Medical Service Corps retention bonus to 22 years of commissioned service or less.
- Limited retention bonus length to 2 or 3-years for pharmacy, optometry, pediatric nurse practitioner, and certified nurse midwife.
- Accession Bonus:
- All personnel who are eligible for medical department special pays should review their corps specific guidance available on the Navy Medicine website.
Here’s the message below. Those who were waiting to apply for their special pays should be able to do so next week via their command special pays coordinator:
UNCLASSIFIED// ROUTINE R 071545Z DEC 18 FM CNO WASHINGTON DC TO NAVADMIN INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC BT UNCLAS NAVADMIN 295/18 PASS TO OFFICE CODES: FM CNO WASHINGTON DC//N1// INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC//N1// MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/N1/DEC// SUBJ/FY-19 MEDICAL DEPARTMENT OFFICER SPECIAL PAYS FOR ACTIVE DUTY// REF/A/DOC/U.S.C./28JAN08// REF/B/DOC/DOD/30DEC15// REF/C/DOC/OPNAV/28DEC05// NARR/REF A IS SECTION 335 OF TITLE 37, U.S. CODE SPECIAL BONUS AND INCENTIVE PAY AUTHORITIES FOR OFFICERS IN HEALTH PROFESSIONS. REF B IS DOD INSTRUCTION 6000.13, ACCESSION AND RETENTION POLICIES, PROGRAMS AND INCENTIVES FOR MILITARY HEALTH PROFESSIONS OFFICERS (HPO). REF C IS OPNAVINST 7220.17, SPECIAL PAYS FOR MEDICAL CORPS, DENTAL CORPS, MEDICAL SERVICE CORPS AND NURSE CORPS OFFICERS. RMKS/1. This NAVADMIN announces the continuation of authority granted in references (a) through (c). 2. Submission of requests for FY-19 Special and Incentive Pays may begin upon release of this NAVADMIN in conformity with reference (c) and specific FY-19 Medical Department Special Pay guidance. Officers will have 30 days from the release date of this NAVADMIN to submit requests for special pays effective back to 1 October 2018, provided officer meets eligibility criteria outlined in the FY-19 Medical Department Special Pays guidance. 3. Specific special pays implementation guidance, administrative procedures and U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Special Pays point of contact information is available at http://www.med.navy.mil/bumed/Special_Pay/Pages/default.aspx. Common access card (CAC) users will need to register their CAC upon first access to the site, if not a member of Navy medicine department. All personnel eligible for Medical Department Officer Special Pays are strongly encouraged to review their corps-specific guidance located at the aforementioned link. 4. This message will remain in effect until superseded or canceled, whichever occurs first. 5. Released by Vice Admiral R. P. Burke, N1.// BT #0001 NNNN UNCLASSIFIED//
Here’s a brief update on FY19 special pays from BUMED:
Ladies and Gentleman, appreciate if you could please get the word out to your Corps. The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs [ASD(HA)] pay plan was signed on 26 Sep 2018, but the Navy Pay Guidance has not been signed. Any special pays requests effective 1 Oct 2018 or later cannot be submitted until the Navy’s Special Pays NAVADMIN has been released, which is not expected until possibly sometime in December 2018.
William L. “Bill” Marin
Program Manager, Navy Medical Special Pays Program
by Dr. Caroline Schlocker
There is very little information available on how a service member applies for continuation pay (CP) under the Blended Retirement System. MILPERSMAN 1810-081 provides some detail but does not mention the NSIPS requirement.
There are two items to complete in order to opt-in to CP:
- Fill out the appropriate section in NSIPS. Here is a go-by with PPI scrubbed screenshots.
- Through the Command Career Counselor office, have a NAVPERS 1070/613 generated and verified. It looks like this:
This needs to be sent by the Command Career Counselor Office to NAVPERSCOM (PERS-8) or the servicing PSD if access through the Navy Personnel System is unavailable.
The decision to opt-in to CP must occur between years 8-12 of military service. Once a person hits the 12 year mark, the decision is irrevocable. If you have not done the above steps by your 12 year mark, you will not be able to obtain CP. CP incurs a four year payback that is served concurrently with other service obligations.
by Brendon Drew
DFAS has struggled to accurately implement the new pay plan, and most physicians notice the impact on their LES. What most don’t realize, though, is that the errors may have also impacted their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) investments. If you contribute to the TSP with any of your medical specialty pays, you should thoroughly investigate your LES and your TSP statements. Here’s an example of what can happen.
I was transitioned off of the legacy pay in February 2017:
When DFAS completed the retroactive pay changes, $785.93 was removed from my 2017 TSP contribution total:
While that may not seem like much, consider that my TSP earned 27% in 2017, the money grows tax-free in a Roth account, and I plan on having that account for another 30-40 years.
Since the involuntary withdrawal occurred in calendar year 2018 but went back into calendar year 2017, I was unable to provide “catch up” contributions in 2018.
I recommend that you review your LES carefully. In the month(s) you are transitioned from the legacy system, look for a negative VSP and/or BCP entitlement. If you see one of these, go pull your TSP statements from the corresponding period and you may find that money was taken out of your retirement account and given back to you as cash.
If you have questions about this, feel free to email me on the global address book. Make sure you have access to your LES and prior TSP statements.