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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employs about 190,000 individuals including physicians, nurses, and therapists at its facilities. It supplements these practitioners with contract staff and medical residents. Cases of practitioners causing intentional harm to patients have raised concerns about VA's screening of practitioners' professional credentials and personal backgrounds. This testimony is based on GAO's report VA Health Care: Improved Screening of Practitioners Would Reduce Risk to Veterans, GAO-04-566 (Mar. 31, 2004). GAO was asked to (1) identify and assess the extent to which selected VA facilities comply with existing key VA screening requirements and (2) determine the adequacy of these requirements for its practitioners.

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