Implementation of a Civilian-Military Contingency Hospital System Should Be Suspended

HRD-80-21: Published: Oct 25, 1979. Publicly Released: Oct 25, 1979.

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Department of Defense (DOD) plans to use nonmilitary hospitals to provide medical care to wartime casualties were reviewed. Several basic problems were found with the report that DOD planned to use as the foundation for this Civilian-Military Contingency Hospital System (CMCHS).

The report identified excess acute care beds in several metropolitan areas, but visits were not made to the hospitals identified and there was no assurance that the beds were actually vacant. The impact of rapid population growth in some areas was not considered in the bed count. No analysis was made of the impact of divesting non-active-duty patients from military to civilian hospitals during mobilization. The report concentrated on acute care beds, when convalescent care beds would also be necessary. The report did not determine whether civilian hospitals in general would participate. Several issues concerning the use of civilian medical resources by federal agencies during wartime were not resolved. CMCHS might duplicate some functions already being carried out by existing military organizations. The full extent of federal resources was not considered. Because many basic questions had not been resolved, GAO believed it was premature to establish the new organization.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should suspend actions to establish CMCHS until the subcommittee chairmen have held their planned hearings.

    Agency Affected:


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