VA doctor avoids patients, still gets bonus

An emergency room doctor at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs threw a snit and refused to see patients, complaining he did not think they were being triaged properly. That resulted in patients waiting more than six hours to get treatment. In the emergency room!

Despite the tantrum, and the resulting reprimand, the doctor got a $7,500 performance bonus from VA. He managed to meet one of the 13 performance goals that had been set that year.

The one success was that the emergency room as a whole was given high marks, which accounted for 50 percent of the doctor’s individual performance rating.

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--- Mark Flatten

USDA discovers new invention: Clock that counts minutes

Officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have made a novel discovery that's helping them better track how long their employees work: a clock.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service is making the switch to clocks for its inspectors that log time by the minute, so it can charge meat inspection plants only for time inspectors actually work, according to a recent report by the USDA inspector general. Inspectors currently clock into a system that measures time worked in 15-minute increments.

The cost of this new technology: about $4 million.

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-- Michal Conger

Give him a handout instead of a job?

It's not easy being a minority: People are always judging you because they assume you're looking for a government handout, said a minority applicant for a government handout.

To be eligible for federal set-aside contracts, business owners must prove that they've been "disadvantaged" because of their race. "My minority status often deters people from doing business with my company, believing I have money given to me for doing nothing," another applicant wrote.

Another black business owner said he was disadvantaged because he was forced to put up with workers who had a "lack of work ethic" and used drugs. The Small Business Administration accepted both arguments and made them eligible for contracts.

The rest of the story is here.

-- Luke Rosiak