Legislation Needed To Encourage Better Use of Federal Medical Resources and Remove Obstacles to Interagency Sharing
HRD-78-54, Jun 14, 1978
Concern has been expressed about the increasing costs of medical care in the Nation. The Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration (VA), and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) have the major responsibility for providing health care directly to beneficiaries. Several laws have been enacted to encourage regional cooperation in health care.
Federal agencies' participation in regional health planning groups has been, for the most part, only advisory. In fiscal year 1977, the responsible agencies spent over $6 billion to provide medical care to federal beneficiaries and over $700 million for care in the nonfederal sector. Increased interagency sharing is being planned, and an interagency Federal Health Resources Sharing Committee has been established. However, there are obstacles to interagency sharing such as the absence of a specific legislative mandate or guidance for this purpose, restrictive regulations and policies, and inconsistent methods for reimbursing agencies for services provided to beneficiaries of other agencies.
- Review Pending
- Closed - implemented
- Closed - not implemented
Recommendation for Executive Action
Recommendation: The Secretaries of Defense and HEW and the Administrator of Veterans Affairs should direct the committee to seek solutions to obstacles within agencies which impede sharing, and report annually to congressional appropriations committees on progress. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) should establish a management group to work with agencies to better coordinate the development of an effective federal sharing program. Congress should enact legislation to establish an expanded and cost-effective interagency sharing program. The legislation should establish a policy that directs interagency sharing, authorize federal direct health care providers to accept all categories of beneficiaries on a referral basis when advantageous, eliminate restrictions on medical services which can be shared, authorize sharing arrangements by federal field hospital managers, authorize expansion of services for cost effectiveness, establish a policy requiring fullest use of nearby federal medical resources, authorize a method of reimbursement for federal hospitals in which revenues would offset expenses, and assign to OMB responsibilities for coordinating interagency sharing and reporting to Congress.
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