Infection Control:

Military Programs Are Comparable to VA and Nonfederal Programs but Can Be Enhanced

HRD-90-74: Published: Apr 27, 1990. Publicly Released: Apr 27, 1990.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

David P. Baine
(202) 512-7101
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO compared military hospitals' infection control programs to similar efforts in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and nonfederal hospitals.

GAO found that: (1) service guidelines did not include GAO-recommended elements, but military hospitals used most of the 56 basic elements considered essential to infection control programs; (2) military hospitals' infection control practitioners initiated element use; (3) the services provided military practitioners limited guidance and direction; (4) the extent of infection control program element use in military hospitals was similar to that in VA and nonfederal hospitals; (5) public and private-sector practitioners did not use the more labor-intensive elements; and (6) military infection programs did not have sufficient management to include all of the basic elements and service-required activities.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The services have been directed to promulgate infection control policies that reflect the intent of the GAO elements and are in compliance with Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations standards or those of other nationally recognized experts. All services have revised their policies accordingly.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the service secretaries, in conjunction with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, to update service infection control regulations. At a minimum, the regulations should require components similar to those in the GAO-identified basic elements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The services have been directed to identify specific corrective actions planned on the GAO recommendations and determine the resources needed to implement those actions.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the service secretaries, in conjunction with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, to require the service surgeons general to determine the relative priority of the infection control programs in relation to other hospital activities and ensure that hospitals provide adequate resources for infection control.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Periodic visits are to be initiated after infection control policies are developed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the service secretaries, in conjunction with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, to ensure that headquarters or mid-level command staff who are familiar with infection control program activities make periodic visits to each hospital to provide technical assistance to the infection control program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Oct 6, 2014

Oct 2, 2014

Sep 29, 2014

Sep 23, 2014

Sep 18, 2014

Sep 16, 2014

Sep 9, 2014

Sep 8, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here