There may be appointed by the Secretary such personnel as the Secretary may find necessary for the health care of veterans (in addition to those in the Office of the Under Secretary for Health appointed under section 7306 of this title), as follows:
(1) Physicians, dentists, podiatrists, chiropractors, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, and expanded-function dental auxiliaries.
(2) Scientific and professional personnel, such as microbiologists, chemists, and biostatisticians.
(3) Audiologists, licensed hearing aid specialists, speech pathologists, and audiologist-speech pathologists, biomedical engineers, certified or registered respiratory therapists, dietitians, licensed physical therapists, licensed practical or vocational nurses, nurse assistants, medical instrument technicians, medical records administrators or specialists, medical records technicians, medical technologists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, nuclear medicine technologists, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, kinesiotherapists, orthotist-prosthetists, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physical therapy assistants, prosthetic representatives, psychologists, diagnostic radiologic technologists, therapeutic radiologic technologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional mental health counselors, blind rehabilitation specialists, blind rehabilitation outpatient specialists, and such other classes of health care occupations as the Secretary considers necessary for the recruitment and retention needs of the Department subject to the following requirements:
(A) Such other classes of health care occupations—
(i) are not occupations relating to administrative, clerical, or physical plant maintenance and protective services;
(ii) would otherwise receive basic pay in accordance with the General Schedule under section 5332 of title 5;
(iii) provide, as determined by the Secretary, direct patient care services or services incident to direct patient services; and
(iv) would not otherwise be available to provide medical care or treatment for veterans.
(B) Not later than 45 days before the Secretary appoints any personnel for a class of health care occupations that is not specifically listed in this paragraph, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate, the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives, and the Office of Management and Budget notice of such appointment.
(C) Before submitting notice under subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall solicit comments from any labor organization representing employees in such class and include such comments in such notice.
(4) Directors of medical centers and directors of Veterans Integrated Service Networks with demonstrated ability in the medical profession, in health care administration, or in health care fiscal management.
Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 4104 of this title prior to the repeal of that section as part of the complete revision of chapter 73 of this title by Pub. L. 102–40.
2017—Par. (4). Pub. L. 115–41 added par. (4).
2016—Par. (3). Pub. L. 114–256 inserted "licensed hearing aid specialists," after "Audiologists," in introductory provisions.
2015—Par. (3)(A)(ii). Pub. L. 114–58 struck out "that" before "would otherwise receive".
2010—Par. (3). Pub. L. 111–163 inserted "nurse assistants," after "licensed practical or vocational nurses,", substituted "blind rehabilitation outpatient specialists, and such other classes of health care occupations as the Secretary considers necessary for the recruitment and retention needs of the Department subject to the following requirements:" for "and blind rehabilitation outpatient specialists.", and added subpars. (A) to (C).
2006—Par. (3). Pub. L. 109–461 inserted "marriage and family therapists, licensed professional mental health counselors," after "social workers,".
2004—Par. (3). Pub. L. 108–422 substituted "technologists, dental hygienists, dental assistants" for "and dental technologists" and "technologists, therapeutic radiologic technologists, social workers, blind rehabilitation specialists, and blind rehabilitation outpatient specialists" for "technicians, therapeutic radiologic technicians, and social workers".
2003—Pub. L. 108–170, §302(a)(1), substituted "health" for "medical" in introductory provisions.
Par. (1). Pub. L. 108–170, §302(a)(2), inserted "chiropractors," after "podiatrists,".
Par. (2). Pub. L. 108–170, §301(a)(1)(A), added par. (2) and struck out former par. (2) which read as follows: "Psychologists (other than those described in paragraph (3)), dietitians, and other scientific and professional personnel, such as microbiologists, chemists, biostatisticians, and medical and dental technologists."
Par. (3). Pub. L. 108–170, §301(a)(1)(B), added par. (3) and struck out former par. (3) which read as follows: "Clinical or counseling psychologists who hold diplomas as diplomates in psychology from an accrediting authority approved by the Secretary, certified or registered respiratory therapists, licensed physical therapists, licensed practical or vocational nurses, pharmacists, and occupational therapists."
1992—Pub. L. 102–405 substituted "Under Secretary for Health" for "Chief Medical Director".
Effective Date of 2003 Amendment
Amendment by section 302(a) of Pub. L. 108–170 effective at end of 180-day period beginning on Dec. 6, 2003, see section 302(h) of Pub. L. 108–170, set out as a note under section 7316 of this title.
Occupational Series for Certain Mental Health Providers
Pub. L. 116–171, title V, §501(b), Oct. 17, 2020, 134 Stat. 815, provided that: "Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 17, 2020], the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management, shall develop an occupational series for licensed professional mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists of the Department of Veterans Affairs."
Encouragement of Transition of Military Medical Professionals Into Employment With Veterans Health Administration
Pub. L. 115–46, title II, §207, Aug. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 964, provided that: "The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish a program to encourage an individual who serves in the Armed Forces with a military occupational specialty relating to the provision of health care to seek employment with the Veterans Health Administration when the individual has been discharged or released from service in the Armed Forces or is contemplating separating from such service."
Training for Human Resources Professionals of Veterans Health Administration on Recruitment and Retention
Pub. L. 115–46, title II, §209, Aug. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 965, provided that:
"(1) as soon as practicable after being hired by the Secretary as a human resources professional; and
"(2) annually thereafter.
Plan To Hire Directors of Medical Centers of Department of Veterans Affairs
Pub. L. 115–46, title II, §210, Aug. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 965, provided that:
"(1) A deadline to hire directors of medical centers of the Department as described in such subsection.
"(2) Identification of the possible impediments to such hiring.
"(3) Identification of opportunities to promote and train candidates from within the Department to senior executive positions in the Department, including as directors of medical centers.
Licensed Hearing Aid Specialists Appointment and Services
Pub. L. 114–256, §4(b), (c), Dec. 14, 2016, 130 Stat. 1347, 1348, provided that:
"(1) a hearing aid specialist may only perform hearing services consistent with the hearing aid specialist's State license related to the practice of fitting and dispensing hearing aids without excluding other qualified professionals, including audiologists, from rendering services in overlapping practice areas;
"(2) services provided to veterans by hearing aid specialists shall be provided as part of the non-medical treatment plan developed by an audiologist; and
"(3) the medical facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs provide to veterans access to the full range of professional services provided by an audiologist.
Prior Appointments of Certain Personnel
Pub. L. 108–170, title III, §301(a)(2), Dec. 6, 2003, 117 Stat. 2055, provided that: "Personnel appointed to the Veterans Health Administration before the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 6, 2003] who are in an occupational category of employees specified in paragraph (3) of section 7401 of title 38, United States Code, by reason of the amendment made by paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection [amending this section] shall, as of such date, be deemed to have been appointed to the Administration under such paragraph (3)."