Legislation Needed To Encourage Better Use of Federal Medical Resources and Remove Obstacles to Interagency Sharing

HRD-78-54: Published: Jun 14, 1978. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 1978.

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Concern has been expressed about the increasing costs of medical care in the Nation. The Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration (VA), and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) have the major responsibility for providing health care directly to beneficiaries. Several laws have been enacted to encourage regional cooperation in health care.

Federal agencies' participation in regional health planning groups has been, for the most part, only advisory. In fiscal year 1977, the responsible agencies spent over $6 billion to provide medical care to federal beneficiaries and over $700 million for care in the nonfederal sector. Increased interagency sharing is being planned, and an interagency Federal Health Resources Sharing Committee has been established. However, there are obstacles to interagency sharing such as the absence of a specific legislative mandate or guidance for this purpose, restrictive regulations and policies, and inconsistent methods for reimbursing agencies for services provided to beneficiaries of other agencies.

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