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VA Health Care: Spending for and Provision of Prosthetic Items

GAO-10-935 Published: Sep 30, 2010. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 2010.
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In fiscal year 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provided more than 59 million prosthetic items to more than 2 million veterans. After VA physicians and other clinicians prescribe prosthetic items, VA's Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service (PSAS) is responsible for processing prescriptions and providing prosthetic items to veterans. PSAS is also responsible for managing VA's spending for prosthetic items--more than $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2009. In fiscal year 2008, this spending exceeded VA's budget estimates. Each year, VA makes an initial funding allocation for prosthetic items, and may reallocate by increasing or decreasing the funding available for prosthetic items during the fiscal year. GAO was asked to examine (1) how, for fiscal years 2005 through 2009, VA's spending for prosthetic items compared to budget estimates, and the extent to which VA reallocated funding for prosthetic items; (2) how PSAS monitors its performance in processing and providing prosthetic items to veterans; and (3) the efforts VA has undertaken to improve PSAS's performance. GAO reviewed VA's spending and funding allocation data for fiscal years 2005 through 2009. GAO also reviewed documents and interviewed VA officials at headquarters, 5 of VA's 21 regional health care networks, called VISNs, and 13 VA medical centers (VAMC).

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Administrative costsAid for the disabledHealth care servicesMonitoringPerformance measuresProsthetic devicesProtective equipmentStrategic planningVeteransVeterans benefitsVeterans hospitalsVeterans' medical care