VA Long-Term Care: More Accurate Measure of Home-Based Primary Care Workload Is Needed

GAO-04-913 Published: Sep 08, 2004. Publicly Released: Sep 08, 2004.
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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a variety of long-term care services that includes nursing home care and noninstitutional care provided in community-based settings or in the homes of veterans. One important noninstitutional service is home-based primary care, which uses a multidisciplinary team approach involving VA health care providers and others such as social workers to treat veterans who are homebound. As part of GAO's work for the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, House of Representatives, to assess how VA meets veterans' long-term care needs, GAO reviewed how VA measures workload for home-based primary care and five other noninstitutional services.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Veterans Affairs Because the number of visits is a more accurate measure of the homebased primary care services veterans receive than enrolled days, the Secretary of Veteran Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to use visits to measure and report the amount of home-based primary care services veterans receive.
Closed – Not Implemented
While VA continues to review and analyze data on patient census, visits, and number of patients treated for home-based primary care services, it will continue to use patient census for reporting purposes which is based on program enrollment rather than visits. VA is not planning to replace the current measure of patient census for reporting purposes.

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