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VA Health Care: Actions Needed to Improve Newly Enrolled Veterans Access to Primary Care

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Technical Report

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U.S. Government Accountability Office Washington United States

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Primary care services are often the entry point for veterans needing care, and VHA has faced a growing demand for outpatient primary care services over the past decade. On average, 380,000 veterans were newly enrolled in VHAs health care system each year in the last decade. GAO was asked to examine VHAs efforts to provide timely access to primary care services. This report examines, among other things, 1 newly enrolled veterans access to primary care and 2 VHAs related oversight. GAO interviewed officials from six VA medical centers selected to provide variation in factors such as geographic location, clinical services offered, and average primary care wait times reviewed a randomly selected, non-generalizable sample of medical records for 180 newly enrolled veterans and interviewed VHA and medical center officials on oversight of access to primary care. GAO evaluated VHAs oversight against relevant federal standards for internal control.

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