The VA Health Manpower Assistance Program:

Goals, Progress, and Shortcomings

HRD-79-8: Published: Mar 16, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 1979.

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The Veteran's Administration (VA) medical school assistance and health manpower training program was reviewed under its authorizing legislation to determine the extent to which this program was achieving the congressional intent of assisting the nation and VA in providing the best possible health care to veterans, and to analyze whether the program's allocated resources were reasonably improving the VA health care system.

VA grants generally extended or improved the training capacities of the institutions reviewed, and access to trained health personnel by affiliated VA hospitals was improved. VA has not always ensured that institutions seeking assistance developed sound projects and/or complied with program requirements. Several grants were approved for funding, although grant reviewers had recommended disapproval and grantees did not project increased enrollment, as required by VA regulations. Grantees have not been effectively encouraged to adopt veterans' preference policies in selecting students. No standard has been developed to ensure that grant funds were properly accounted for by individual grantees. No onsite compliance or financial audits were conducted, although records at grantee institutions showed numerous accounting discrepancies. VA officials were unaware of the discrepancies and blamed failure to conduct the audits on insufficient staff and funds. Based on GAO estimate, VA may fall short of meeting its program commitments by $32 million.

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