DOD and VA Health Care: Actions Needed to Help Ensure Appropriate Medication Continuation and Prescribing Practices
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON DC United States
Pagination or Media Count:
The Department of Defense DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs VA Veterans Health Administration VHA have collaborated to develop clinical practice guidelines for post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD and mild traumatic brain injury TBI. The mild TBI guideline does not include recommendations based on scientific evidence regarding the use of medications to treat symptoms because of a lack of available research however, the PTSD guideline discourages the use of benzodiazepines a sedative and states that the use of antipsychotics to treat PTSD lacks support, based on available research. VHA monitors the prescribing of benzodiazepines and antipsychotics to treat PTSD nationally and by VA medical centers VAMC and requires VAMCs to implement improvement plans if their prescribing is significantly higher than the average of all VAMCs. GAO found that DOD relies on each military service to review the medication prescribing practices of its providers and that the Army does not monitor the prescribing of medications to treat PTSD on an ongoing basis. Without such monitoring, the Army may be unable to identify and address practices that are inconsistent with the guideline. Federal internal control standards require agencies to have control activities to establish performance measures, implement ongoing monitoring to assess performance, and ensure that the findings of reviews are promptly resolved.
- Medicine and Medical Research