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Uniformed Services Health Professionals Special Pay Act of 1980 Statement on Signing S. 2460 Into Law.

June 30, 1980

I am pleased to sign into law S. 2460, the Uniformed Services Health Professionals Special Pay Act of 1980. In recent years, the Department of Defense has experienced severe difficulty in retaining its physicians, particularly those in critical specialties. This bill will improve the health care system of the Department of Defense through more efficient use of special pay for health professionals.

Earlier this year Congress passed a bill, H.R. 5235, that sought to deal with the needs of the Department of Defense. Unfortunately, that bill contained provisions unnecessarily expanding the scope and cost of Uniformed Services health professionals pay to such an extent that I found it unacceptable and returned it without my approval. In my veto message of March 11, 1980, I urged the Congress to reconsider the legislation in light of my objections. I am very pleased that Congress has now done so.

The bill I have signed has been narrowed to address the key problem—the shortage of physicians in our Armed Forces—while providing adequately for the other health professionals covered by the legislation.

With respect to Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps physicians, S. 2460 maintains the existing bonus payments and also improves PHS recruitment and retention capabilities by authorizing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award additional discretionary bonuses of up to $8,000 annually for hardship locations and medical shortage specialties. In signing S. 2460, I want to reiterate my appreciation of the special role and responsibilities of the PHS Commissioned Corps. I also appreciate congressional efforts to address the needs of the PHS independently.

S. 2460 recognizes the importance of tailoring Federal compensation policies to meet the specific needs of each agency to attract and retain qualified health personnel. Accordingly, I am pleased to sign S. 2460 into law.

Note: As enacted, S. 2460 is Public Law 96284, approved June 30.

Jimmy Carter, Uniformed Services Health Professionals Special Pay Act of 1980 Statement on Signing S. 2460 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251469

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