VA Health Care:
Efforts to Increase Sharing With DOD and the Private Sector
T-HEHS-96-41, Oct 18, 1995
GAO discussed the status and future direction of the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) health care resources sharing agreements with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the private sector. GAO noted that: (1) Congress has broadened the types of services, beneficiaries, and providers covered under VA sharing agreements, eased burdensome reimbursement provisions, and allowed providing facilities to retain funds from shared services; (2) the number of VA sharing agreements with DOD facilities has increased from 12 in 1983 to 147 in 1995; (3) it is difficult to quantify the monetary benefits of these sharing agreements, since VA and DOD reports do not contain data on the extent to which sharing agreements are used; (4) the recent expansion of VA sharing to Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services beneficiaries, the participation of VA facilities under the DOD TRICARE program, and the proposed expansion of VA private-sector sharing are creating challenges for VA; and (5) VA is implementing a decision support system that will enable it to generate itemized health care bills and monitor the quality and quantity of care provided at its facilities.