VA Health Care: Ongoing and Past Work Identified Access Problems That May Delay Needed Medical Care for Veterans

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "GAO's ongoing work examining VHA's management of outpatient specialty care consults identified examples of delays in veterans receiving outpatient specialty care, as well as limitations in the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA), Veterans Health Administration's (VHA) implementation of new consult business rules designed to standardize aspects of the clinical consult process. For example, for 4 of the 10 physical therapy consults GAO reviewed for one VAMC, between 108 and 152 days elapsed with no apparent actions taken to schedule an appointment for the veteran. For 1 of these ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. April 9, 2014.

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "GAO's ongoing work examining VHA's management of outpatient specialty care consults identified examples of delays in veterans receiving outpatient specialty care, as well as limitations in the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA), Veterans Health Administration's (VHA) implementation of new consult business rules designed to standardize aspects of the clinical consult process. For example, for 4 of the 10 physical therapy consults GAO reviewed for one VAMC, between 108 and 152 days elapsed with no apparent actions taken to schedule an appointment for the veteran. For 1 of these consults, several months passed before the veteran was referred for care to a non-VA health care facility. VA medical center (VAMC) officials cited increased demand for services, and patient no-shows and cancelled appointments among the factors that lead to delays and hinder their ability to meet VHA's guideline of completing consults within 90 days of being requested. GAO's ongoing work also identified variation in how the five VAMCs reviewed have implemented key aspects of VHA's business rules, such as strategies for managing future care consults—requests for specialty care appointments that are not clinically needed for more than 90 days. Such variation may limit the usefulness of VHA's data in monitoring and overseeing consults systemwide. Furthermore, oversight of the implementation of the business rules has been limited and did not include independent verification of VAMC actions. Because this work is ongoing, we are not making recommendations on VHA's consult process at this time."

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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 9, 2014

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. VA Health Care: Ongoing and Past Work Identified Access Problems That May Delay Needed Medical Care for Veterans, text, April 9, 2014; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302276/: accessed December 9, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.