Variations in the Military Services' Contingency Hospital Programs

HRD-82-101: Published: Jul 15, 1982. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 1982.

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GAO studied the similarities and differences of the approaches the military services follow to develop their contingency hospital programs, with an emphasis on: (1) the cost to obtain, store, and maintain the hospitals; (2) the operational requirements of the hospitals; and (3) the extent to which the services are coordinating their programs.

GAO found that a number of cost and operational differences in the services' programs are apparent. Although none of the services have developed estimates for the total costs of their contingency hospital programs, their hospital acquisition costs alone are projected to be over $1.3 billion through fiscal year 1988. The primary causes which contribute to the services' cost procurement differences are their different approaches to: the provision of shelters to set up contingency hospitals, the provision of necessary utilities, and the payment of equipment and supply costs. In addition to the estimated $1.3 billion stipulated for contingency hospitals, the services will incur additional costs to prepare the hospital sites, to build warehouses to store the hospitals, and to pay recurring expenses for leases, utilities, and maintenance of the buildings and sites. GAO concluded that the absence of a coordinated procurement strategy among the services causes potential overlap, duplication, and wasteful expenditure of money in their contingency hospital programs. Recent efforts by the Department of Defense to coordinate and standardize the procurement process could help eliminate unnecessary program differences and reduce costs to the services.

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