Better Planning and Funding Approach Needed for Military Medical Facilities Construction and Modernization Projects in Germany

HRD-82-130: Published: Sep 30, 1982. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1982.

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GAO reported on the condition of military medical facilities in Europe as well as plans for their renovation and replacement.

GAO believes that the recent emphasis placed on European construction projects, together with significantly higher funding provide the Army with an opportunity to correct deficiencies, eliminate past inadequacies in facility geographic distribution, and consider construction alternatives. GAO found that consolidation of facilities in some military communities appears to be a cost-effective way to improve the quality of care. To justify and plan proposed projects, the Army needs information on the condition of existing facilities and guidance as to the optimum size and location of medical facilities. GAO also found that improvements are needed in the ways related maintenance and repair costs are estimated and total project costs are funded. Maintenance and repair estimates associated with the project are not always based on a detailed analysis of all deficiencies, with the result that Congress is not provided with complete cost information.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Although DOD has a process for determining the feasibility of consolidating medical facilities, none of the facilities identified as having potential have been consolidated.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force to coordinate medical construction programs for Germany with a view toward joint utilization of facilities where possible.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army believes that this recommendation places an untenable burden on the limited military construction dollars and serves to reward inattention or poor maintenance over time. GAO still believes that a different funding approach is needing to ensure that required operations and maintenance funding is available throughout the period when facilities are being modernized.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should develop: (1) a method to more accurately estimate the amount of maintenance and repair costs to ensure that Congress is made aware of the total project funding requirements; and (2) a funding approach for future medical facility modernization projects which will ensure that required operations and maintenance funding will be available throughout the project.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army did not implement two of the three actions recommended in this recommendation. These actions are evaluation criterion development and evaluating consolidation opportunities. Regarding the evaluation criterion development, Army believes that such determination can be made through examination of workload data, time study, facility utilization and other surveys.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should give high priority to completion of the Resource Distribution Study so that it can be used in the 7th Military Command's Health Facility Modernization Program. The Secretary should ensure that the study: (1) examines ways to compile detailed data on the condition of Army medical facilities in Europe; (2) develops an evaluation criterion for proposed projects which considers the medical needs of the community, the conditions of facilities, and efficient distribution of Command resources; and (3) evaluates consolidation opportunities for clinics discussed in this report and other clinics located near each other or hospitals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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