History of Federal Physicians Association

In 1976, the founding members of the Federal Physicians Association (FPA) alerted Congress that physicians in the commissioned corps and the Veterans Administration received recruitment and retention bonuses while other federal physicians did not. To correct this problem, Congress passed the Physicians Comparability Allowance (PCA) legislation in 1978.

In 1979, FPA was formed as a non-profit professional association to:
  • Improve the health of those served by federal civil service physicians.
  • Improve the practice of medicine within the federal government.
  • Lobby for equitable pay and benefits for federal civil service physicians.
In 1987, FPA advised Congress that the amount of the PCA fell far short of bridging the gap in the pay of federal physicians and physicians employed by private sector organizations. While the maximum special pay for physicians employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs was $27,500 a year, the PCA was limited to $10,000 a year. After an expensive lobbying effort by the FPA, Congress passed legislation in 1987 to increase the maximum PCA to $20,000 a year.

In 1990, Congress passed the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act. As a result of the 1990 Act, locality pay was implemented and federal agencies were authorized to pay physicians under the title 38, the Veterans Affairs special pay provisions, up to $200,000 a year for physicians. Federal physicians were denied locality pay increases as a result of the 1990 pay act and the FPA hired a law firm to overturn the denial of locality pay.

While the FPA was supporting implementation of Physician Special Pay or title 38 pay; the FPA was concerned that physicians receiving the PCA were paid far less than their colleagues in the federal government. To confirm the FPA's view that physicians receiving the PCA were paid less than other federal physicians, the FPA asked Congress to study the total pay and benefits of all physicians employed in the federal government. The completed study, released in September 1997, stated "physicians paid [under other systems] received more types and higher amounts of special pay than physicians receiving the PCA.

As a result of the 1997 study, the FPA asked Congress to increase the maximum PCA to $30,000 a year. The increase in the maximum PCA was signed into law by the President on October 19, 1998.

In 2000, Representative Connie Morella (R-MD) introduced the FPA's legislation - H.R. 207 - to include the PCA in retirement and to make the authority for the PCA permanent. In spite of opposition from almost everyone, the legislation passed and on December 28, 2000 President Clinton signed P.L. 106-571, the FPA's legislation to include the physician's comparability allowance in base pay for the purposes of calculating retirement benefits. The President signed the bill only two days before the deadline or it would not have become law.

Ccontact the FPA office at 800 403-3374