The Role of Special and Incentive Pays in Retaining Military Mental Health Care Providers
- What special and incentive (S&I) pays are available for military physicians and other health care professionals?
- What are the relative earnings of military and civilian health care professionals?
- How can policymakers assessing how alternative S&I pay adjustments affect the retention of mental health care officers?
After more than a decade of war, the military services have many returning personnel with mental health needs, and thus the United States needs to ensure that it has the capacity to address their needs. Officer special and incentive (S&I) pays are used to create incentives for officer retention to meet manning requirements. However, no capability exists to assess how alternative S&I pay adjustments affect the retention of mental health care officers, and, as a result, policymakers lack an analytical and empirical basis for determining the effect of such adjustments on retention.
The authors of this report adapt RAND's dynamic retention model (DRM) to handle multiyear special pay and develop estimates of expected military and civilian pay over a career, which are needed inputs to the model. Using longitudinal data on officer retention for entry cohorts from 1990 to 2000 followed to 2010, the authors obtain DRM parameter estimates for psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, occupational therapists, physician assistants, and social workers. Nearly all estimates are statistically significant, and the estimated models fit the data well. To demonstrate the needed capability, the authors use the estimated models to simulate the retention effects of alternative S&I pays.
Table of Contents
Military Financial Aid Programs for Physicians
Conceptualizing and Modeling the Military Financial Aid Choice and Retention Decision
Active Component Earnings of Mental Health Professionals
Civilian Earnings of Mental Health Professionals
Dynamic Retention Model Parameter Estimation
Policy Simulations and Analyses
Cost to the Individual of a Two-Period Commitment
Possible Selectivity by Military Financial Aid Pathway
Reserve Duty Earnings
Comparisons of Military Pay Using the Pay Table Approach Versus Observed Pay from the Pay Files
Civilian Earnings of Mental Health Care Providers
Civilian Earnings of Female Physicians