VA Health Care: Changes Needed to Improve Resource Allocation

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation (VERA) system allocated $17.8 billion of its $20.3 billion health care budget to 22 regional health care networks in fiscal year 2001. Before Vera resources were allocated to facilities on the basis of their historical expenditures. By aligning resources with workloads VERA shifted about$921 million among VA's networks in fiscal year 2001. VERA's design is reasonable for equitably allocating resources, but improvements could better allocate comparable resources for comparable workloads. VERA's allocations are based primarily on network workload, with adjustments made for factors ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. April 30, 2002.

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation (VERA) system allocated $17.8 billion of its $20.3 billion health care budget to 22 regional health care networks in fiscal year 2001. Before Vera resources were allocated to facilities on the basis of their historical expenditures. By aligning resources with workloads VERA shifted about$921 million among VA's networks in fiscal year 2001. VERA's design is reasonable for equitably allocating resources, but improvements could better allocate comparable resources for comparable workloads. VERA's allocations are based primarily on network workload, with adjustments made for factors beyond the control of network management. These include the health care needs of veterans and some local cost differences. VERA's design also protects patients from the effects of network budget shortfalls. However, GAO found that $200 million annually that could be reallocated to better align network resources with workloads. First, VERA's measurement of network workload is not accurate enough to determine each network's allocation because VERA excludes most veterans with higher incomes who do not have service-connected disabilities--about one-fifth of VA's workload. Second, VERA does not accurately adjust for cost differences among networks for differences in patients' health care needs or case mix across networks. GAO also found that the Veterans Administration has not analyzed whether the networks' need for supplemental resources--provided through the National Reserve Fund--is the result of potential problems in VERA, network inefficiency, or other factors. Without such information, VA can neither ensure the appropriateness of supplemental funding nor take corrective action."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • April 30, 2002

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  • June 10, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. VA Health Care: Changes Needed to Improve Resource Allocation, text, April 30, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc290220/: accessed October 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.