VA Justification for Construction of Nursing Home Care Units at Amarillo, Texas, and Tucson, Arizona

HRD-85-80: Published: Aug 12, 1985. Publicly Released: Aug 12, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Veterans Administration's (VA) justification for the two nursing home care unit construction projects proposed in its fiscal year 1986 budget to determine whether: (1) VA adequately considered local needs and resources and less costly alternatives to new construction; and (2) VA planners followed the Medical District Initiated Program Planning (MEDIPP) process when justifying the nursing home care units proposed.

GAO noted that, as part of the MEDIPP process, district planners are required to: (1) document projected nursing home care needs; (2) project the availability of beds in community and state nursing homes to meet those needs; and (3) project the feasibility of converting existing space in the medical centers to nursing home care units. GAO found that: (1) VA considered less costly alternatives, such as converting hospital beds to nursing home care units, but found that they were not viable alternatives to new construction at either location; (2) neither facility had excess hospital beds to convert; and (3) space and functional deficiencies in the existing facilities did not allow for the addition of nursing home beds. GAO also found that: (1) district planners justified the need for the projects by using the data submitted as part of the 1984 MEDIPP process; (2) community nursing homes would be able to care for only 30 out of 108 to 135 veterans which were projected to need skilled care in the year 2000; and (3) VA would have to care for the other 78 to 105 veterans in its own beds and, therefore, the 120-bed facilities would be needed.

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