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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Veterans Affairs'(VA) efforts to reduce the waiting times for outpatient care, focusing on VA's initiatives to: (1) improve its waiting time; and (2) address its waiting time problems.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Veterans Affairs The Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to first determine the extent of waiting times and their causes and then develop a spending plan that will result in solving the identified waiting time problems. In addition, VA should develop a mechanism for monitoring and tracking expenditures for improving timeliness to evaluate how well targeted funds have reduced waiting times.
Closed - Implemented
In June 2002, networks submitted plans for reducing the backlog of veterans waiting for appointments. The networks are now operationalizing those plans, including hiring staff to implement them. Notably, each network has established an electronic wait list, which is tracked monthly and discussed quarterly during network director's performance reviews.

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