VA Health Care:

Expanding Food Service Initiatives Could Save Millions

GAO-01-64: Published: Nov 30, 2000. Publicly Released: Nov 30, 2000.


Cynthia A. Bascetta
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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) could save millions of dollars by systematically consolidating food production, employing Veterans Canteen Service workers to provide inpatient food services, and using competitive sourcing. VA already has experience in implementing these options at several locations, although VA's experience with food service contractors is limited. Using a systematic approach to assess available options at each location would allow VA to provide food service at the lowest cost while maintaining quality.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to direct the 22 Veterans Integrated Service Networks to (1) systematically assess each inpatient food service location to determine if consolidation, employment of VCS workers, competitive sourcing, or a combination of these options would reduce costs while maintaining quality; and (2) implement the least-costly options in a timely manner.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: VHA had developed and begun implementing a process in each network to identify and evaluate food service options, but has suspended that process pending the completion of a technical contract review by the Office of Acquisition and Materiel Management. VHA does not specify a date by which it intends to have the contract signed.

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