Constructing New VA Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, Unjustified

HRD-78-51: Published: Feb 6, 1978. Publicly Released: Feb 6, 1978.

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As part of its construction program, the Veterans Administration (VA) planned to build a new hospital in Camden, New Jersey, at estimated construction costs of $75.3 million and estimated annual operating costs of about $32 million. The proposed hospital is not a replacement of a VA hospital but an addition.

The basis for justifying the new hospital was an analysis of veterans' medical needs in the Philadelphia area, but the VA used several invalid assumptions. The VA assumption that admissions to the Philadelphia VA hospital are constrained by a low bed supply is incorrect in view of more current information which indicates that this hospital, located 7 miles from the site of the proposed hospital, is adequate in size to support the entire 1985 medical and surgical requirements of veterans in the area. However, a new VA nursing home care unit may be needed. The assumption that the Philadelphia VA hospital length of stay data are an accurate measure of future acute care stays is incorrect since the data are a mixture of acute, intermediate, and nursing home care stays. VA could not explain, from a priority standpoint, the basis used to select the Philadelphia/Camden area for a new hospital as opposed to another location in the United States.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Subcommittee should reject funding for a new VA hospital in Camden, New Jersey, but consider construction or acquisition of an area VA nursing home after VA completes its nationwide study of nursing home requirements. It should also require that VA justify all new hospital construction proposals in terms of priority on the basis of objective criteria before funding is approved. VA should use the criteria to evaluate and compare the current level of adequacy of VA hospitals nationwide in meeting veterans' medical needs and assign the highest priority for new hospital construction in areas where present hospitals are least able to provide high quality care.

    Agency Affected:

 

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