VA Needs Better Visibility and Control Over Medical Center Purchases

PSAD-81-16: Published: Dec 12, 1980. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 1980.

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GAO reviewed the Veterans Administration's (VA) medical center purchasing practices and made suggestions to improve procurement management as well as reduce operating costs.

The VA Marketing Center purchases items that are stored and distributed through supply depots and manages supply schedule contracts for certain medical and food items. These centralized procurement programs give VA medical centers the opportunity to obtain supplies and equipment without having to independently solicit and award contracts. VA medical centers are required to use these programs whenever possible. However, the medical centers still annually purchase items costing millions of dollars from open market vendors. Opportunities for lower prices are being lost because of the VA failure to standardize common items used by medical centers, failure to maintain visibility over most supplies purchased by medical centers, uneconomical purchasing practices of the medical centers, and failure to consolidate purchases within and among medical centers.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of Veterans Affairs should direct the Assistant Administrator for Supply Services to develop the controls needed to improve and monitor the purchasing practices of individual medical centers.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator for Veterans Affairs should direct the Assistant Administrator for Supply Services to establish a central standards committee to idenetify and evaluate common items presently used by VA medical centers.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of Veterans Affairs should direct the Assistant Administrator for Supply Services to develop an information system that provides greater visibility over all medical center purchases.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of Veterans Affairs should direct the Assistant Administrator for Supply Services to consolidate purchases within medical centers and among neighboring centers.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  5. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of Veterans Affairs should direct the Assistant Administrator for Supply Services to implement the procedures necessary to assure that neighboring medical centers share product and vendor information so they can effectively take advantage of one anothers purchasing and contracting experiences.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

 

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