VA Health Care:
Opportunities to Enhance Montgomery and Tuskegee Service Integration
T-HEHS-97-191, Jul 28, 1997
GAO discussed its ongoing work on the integration of medical facilities operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Tuskegee and Montgomery, Alabama.
GAO noted that: (1) on the basis of GAO's work to date, it appears that both Atlanta network and Montgomery and Tuskegee facility officials have made a lot of progress in planning for this integration, and benefits have already been realized; (2) planning activities, however, are yet to be completed, including: (a) making key decisions on whether and how to restructure certain services, such as nutrition and food services; (b) fully assessing the probable impact of clinical, administrative, and patient support service changes on veterans and employees; and (c) determining how savings will be reinvested to benefit veterans; (3) moreover, some stakeholders have found it difficult, if not impossible, to assess the reasonableness of VA's decisions and to ultimately buy in to them without the benefit of information from completed planning activities facilitywide; and (4) because integrating facilities involves inherently difficult issues and requires careful planning, it seems important for VA to complete its planning in sufficient detail to ensure that benefits are maximized and adverse impacts minimized.