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VA and DOD Health Care: Department-Level Actions Needed to Assess Collaboration Performance, Address Barriers, and Identify Opportunities
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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The Department of Veterans Affairs VA and the Department of Defense DoD operate two of the nations largest health care systems at estimated annual costs of about 53 billion and 49 billion, respectively, for fiscal year 2013, and have established collaboration sites to deliver care jointly with the aim of improving access, quality, and cost-effectiveness of care. In addition, collaborations could help reduce duplication and overlap between the two health care systems, potentially saving tax dollars and helping VA and DoD provide more efficient and effective services. A committee report accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, directed GAO to report on aspects of VA and DoD collaboration. This report examines the extent to which the following occur 1 VA and DoD assess effectiveness and efficiencies at collaboration sites, 2 barriers exist that affect collaboration, and 3 VA and DoD identify opportunities for collaboration. GAO conducted site visits to selected VA and DoD collaboration sites reviewed VA and DoD documents, such as sharing agreements and interviewed VA and DoD officials. GAO recommends several actions, including that VA and DoD require collaboration sites to develop performance measures related to access, quality, and costs address barriers hindering collaboration and develop a process to more systematically identify new or expanded collaboration opportunities. GAO identified incompatible policies and practices in four areas information technology IT systems, business and administrative processes, access to military bases, and medical facility construction. VA and DoD generally concurred with GAOs recommendations and noted steps they are taking to address them.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE