Establishment of the Veterans Administration as a Cabinet Department

T-HRD-88-11: Published: Mar 15, 1988. Publicly Released: Mar 15, 1988.

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GAO discussed proposed legislation that would establish the Veterans Administration (VA) as a cabinet-level department, specifically: (1) problems with VA management oversight; and (2) how the proposed legislation might address the problems. GAO found that: (1) VA administrative managers have not adequately overseen its medical field offices, since they do not have reliable data about facilities performance and medical services quality assurance and efficiency; (2) although VA decided on a decentralized management system because field offices provided the bulk of its services, it did not have the appropriate management and information systems to effectively manage its large and diverse network; and (3) VA did not have adequate internal controls over its financial reporting systems. GAO believes that: (1) although the proposed legislation might correct management problems, VA needs to focus greater attention on the efficiency and quality of medical services it provides; (2) VA management should monitor the extent to which its appropriate cost-benefit analyses justify its information resources management; and (3) a key provision of the proposed legislation would establish chief financial officers at 13 cabinet departments and 9 agencies, and provide a link for policy development and guidance from a central source and a focus for financial management leadership at the agencies.

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