VA and DOD Health Care: Efforts to Coordinate a Single Physical Exam Process for Servicemembers Leaving the Military

GAO-05-64 Published: Nov 12, 2004. Publicly Released: Nov 12, 2004.
Jump To:
Skip to Highlights
Highlights

Servicemembers who leave the military and file disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may be subject to potentially duplicative physical exams in order to meet requirements of both the Department of Defense's (DOD) military services and VA. To streamline the process for these servicemembers, the military services and VA have attempted to coordinate their physical exam requirements by developing a single separation exam program. In 1998, VA and DOD signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) instructing local units to establish single separation exam programs. This report examines (1) VA's and the military services' efforts to establish single separation exam programs, and (2) the challenges to establishing single separation exam programs. To obtain this information, GAO interviewed VA and military service officials about establishing the program; evaluated existing programs at selected military installations; and visited selected installations that did not have programs.

Skip to Recommendations

Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To determine where single separation exam programs are established and operating, the Secretary of VA and the Secretary of Defense should develop systems to monitor and track the progress of VA regional offices and military installations in implementing these programs at BDD sites.
Closed – Implemented
GAO recommended that VA and DOD develop systems to monitor and track the progress of implementing single separation exam programs. VBA's Chief of Procedures Staff hired an official in November 2004 to monitor single separation exam programs at BDD sites with MOUs in place. He monitors and tracks the progress of the single separation exam programs in several ways. First, each VA Regional Office must provide a monthly report on BDD sites' activities. Included in these reports is information on the number of single separation exams that have been conducted. In addition, this official has conducted on-site evaluations at 5 locations and is planning to make 7 additional site visits in the near future. He will use information obtained in these site visits to develop best practices for other single separation exam programs. He plans to continue to conduct site visits in the future. DOD uses VA's tools and its database to monitor the progress of single separation examination sites. Each month, DOD reviews VA's database to determine where these programs are in place.
Department of Veterans Affairs To determine where single separation exam programs are established and operating, the Secretary of VA and the Secretary of Defense should develop systems to monitor and track the progress of VA regional offices and military installations in implementing these programs at BDD sites.
Closed – Implemented
GAO recommended that VA and DOD develop systems to monitor and track the progress of implementing single separation exam programs. VBA's Chief of Procedures Staff hired an official in November 2004 to monitor single separation exam programs at BDD sites with MOUs in place. He monitors and tracks the progress of the single separation exam programs in several ways. First, each VA Regional Office must provide a monthly report on BDD sites' activities. Included in these reports is information on the number of single separation exams that have been conducted. In addition, this official has conducted on-site evaluations at 5 locations and is planning to make 7 additional site visits in the near future. He will use information obtained in these site visits to develop best practices for other single separation exam programs. He plans to continue to conduct site visits in the future. DOD uses VA's tools and its database to monitor the progress of single separation examination sites. Each month, DOD reviews VA's database to determine where these programs are in place.

Full Report