VA Health Care:

Insufficient Support for Brevard County Location for New Florida Hospital

HRD-86-67: Published: Jun 4, 1986. Publicly Released: Jun 9, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the process and criteria the Veterans Administration's (VA) 12 Medical District officials used in selecting Brevard County as the location for a new VA hospital in east central Florida.

GAO found that: (1) the District Planning Board recommended Brevard County as a VA hospital site based on its professional judgment, using data district staff developed; and (2) the reasons for the selection and the data considered during the decision-making process were not fully documented. GAO also found that: (1) a computational error and insufficient evidence in the data supported the Board's decision to locate a hospital in Brevard County; and (2) the Board considered data that favored locating the hospital in the Orange/Seminole County area, which has a greater concentration of older and lower-income veterans, who typically are the greatest users of VA facilities. VA central office officials did not provide guidance for siting the new hospitals because they believed that planning for new VA hospitals was a rare occurrence.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: VA updated its information. VA rationale and documentation relating to its decision was submitted with the regional MEDIPP plan on December 1, 1986.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of Veterans Affairs should direct the Chief Medical Director to require VA regional and district planners to document the rationale or basis for their hospital siting decisions.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: VA advised the appropriate committees on August 21, 1986, that it had reviewed the criteria used in making the Brevard siting decision and found them to be appropriate, based on information available at the time. VA stated that its decision would be updated with more recent data, and the rationale and basis for its siting decision would again be documented.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of Veterans Affairs should direct the Chief Medical Director to suspend further planning for a hospital in Brevard County and reassess the siting decision for the location of a new east central Florida hospital based on the matters discussed in this report. VA should provide the results of its reassessment, including the rationale for its decision, to the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs and Appropriations Committees because of the future need for congressional authorization and funding for this hospital.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

 

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