DOD Health Care:

Comments on a Defense Department Report on Military Podiatrists

HRD-86-72BR: Published: Feb 28, 1986. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) report on the: (1) determination of requirements for nonphysician health care providers, specifically podiatrists; and (2) potential effects of additional authorizations for podiatrists on orthopedic surgeons' workloads and the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS) costs.

GAO found that: (1) DOD discussion of podiatrist requirements and authorizations did not distinguish between peacetime and wartime requirements and contained a conclusion that appeared to be inconsistent with existing Surgeons General's data regarding wartime orthopedic surgeon requirements; (2) the potential reduction in orthopedic surgeons' workloads that podiatrists could assume was not supported by data in the report; and (3) CHAMPUS expenditures for podiatrist care in calendar year 1984 were significantly higher than the report's estimate of these costs.

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