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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
11/4/1977--Passed Senate amended. (Measure passed Senate, amended) Veterans' Administration Physician and Dentist Pay Comparability Amendments - Extends until September 30, 1978 but, not beyond September 30, 1981, the veterans' Administration's authority to enter into special agreements and provide for retroactive payment of special pay to eligible physicians and dentists. Permits such physicians and dentists to enter into new, special pay agreements provided no default of any back payment has occurred. Requires the VA's Chief Medical Director to: (1) make annual redeterminations whether significant recruitment and retention problems exist as to any category of physicians or dentist; (2) reevaluate the need for special pay agreements in order to recruit and retain highly qualified physicians and dentists; and (3) recommend to the Administrator categories of positions which are not necessary and should be reduced. Authorizes the Administrator to promulgate a regulation reducing the amount of primary special pay for any such category based on this reevaluation and recommendation. Prohibits the permanent or temporary appointment, in any position having direct patient-care responsibility, of any medical, dental, auxiliary or support staff member who does not possess the necessary proficiency in spoken and written English. Requires the the Administrator to insure a sufficient bilingual staff in facilities which serve veterans with limited English-speaking ability and to provide guidance to veterans and staff to bridge cultural differences. Requires the conversion of all podiatrists and optometrists in the Department of Medicine and Surgery to employment in the Department's own personnel system; and provides that such conversions, including payment at the appropriate levels of basic pay, be effective retroactively.