Key Issues > Continuity of Health Care from DOD to VA
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Continuity of Health Care from DOD to VA

Many servicemembers that separate from military service will seek medical care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)—especially those who have sustained serious wounds, illnesses, or injuries while on active duty.

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While the Department of Defense (DOD) and VA recognize the importance of providing a seamless transition from DOD’s health care system to VA’s health care system, numerous barriers prevent effective and efficient transitions, especially for servicemembers who have experienced serious wounds, illnesses, or injuries. GAO has reported that:

  • VA and DOD have faced barriers and made limited progress toward developing joint electronic health record capabilities that could improve veterans’ health care.
  • DOD’s and VA’s efforts are limited in terms of their ability to ensure that all servicemembers have the necessary help to manage their medications during transitions of care.
  • Logistical, and other challenges—such as a lack of awareness—may hinder veterans from receiving VA mental health services.
  • DOD and VA have not integrated and aligned the numerous care coordination and case management programs that assist seriously wounded, ill, and injured servicemembers and veterans during their transition from DOD’s to VA’s health care system.
  • The VA/DOD Joint Executive Council assumed responsibility for addressing many of the key challenges that impact transitioning servicemembers, but it remains unclear how the Council, which has traditionally focused on long-term joint strategic planning issues, will provide the consistent and effective policymaking, oversight, and accountability needed to resolve major problems.
Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.

Recovering Servicemembers and Veterans:

DOD and VA Health Care:

Medication Needs during Transitions May Not Be Managed for All Servicemembers
GAO-13-26:
Published: Nov 2, 2012. Publicly Released: Nov 14, 2012.

VA Mental Health:

Number of Veterans Receiving Care, Barriers Faced, and Efforts to Increase Access
GAO-12-12:
Published: Oct 14, 2011. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 2011.

DOD and VA Health Care:

Action Needed to Strengthen Integration across Care Coordination and Case Management Programs
GAO-12-129T:
Published: Oct 6, 2011. Publicly Released: Oct 6, 2011.

Electronic Health Records:

DOD and VA Should Remove Barriers and Improve Efforts to Meet Their Common System Needs
GAO-11-265:
Published: Feb 2, 2011. Publicly Released: Feb 2, 2011.

More Reports

Transitioning Veterans:

Improved Oversight Needed to Enhance Implementation of Transition Assistance Program
GAO-14-144:
Published: Mar 5, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 2014.

Veterans' Employment and Training:

Better Targeting, Coordinating, and Reporting Needed to Enhance Program Effectiveness
GAO-13-29:
Published: Dec 13, 2012. Publicly Released: Jan 10, 2013.

VA and DOD Health Care:

Veterans' Reemployment Rights:

Transportation-Disadvantaged Populations:

Federal Coordination Efforts Could Be Further Strengthened
GAO-12-647:
Published: Jun 20, 2012. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 2012.

Arlington National Cemetery:

Additional Actions Needed to Continue Improvements in Contract Management
GAO-12-99:
Published: Dec 15, 2011. Publicly Released: Dec 15, 2011.

Fraud Detection Systems:

Indian Health Service:

Continued Efforts Needed to Help Strengthen Response to Sexual Assaults and Domestic Violence
GAO-12-29:
Published: Oct 26, 2011. Publicly Released: Oct 26, 2011.

Federal Recovery Coordination Program:

Enrollment, Staffing, and Care Coordination Pose Significant Challenges
GAO-11-572T:
Published: May 13, 2011. Publicly Released: May 13, 2011.

DOD and VA Health Care:

Federal Recovery Coordination Program Continues to Expand but Faces Significant Challenges
GAO-11-250:
Published: Mar 23, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 2011.
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