Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO evaluated the effectiveness of the Department of Defense's (DOD) demonstration program that would provide trauma care training for military medical personnel through one or more public or nonprofit hospitals, focusing on: (1) the status of the demonstration program and DOD's actions to meet the legislative provisions; (2) other initiatives aimed at training military personnel in trauma care; and (3) key issues that DOD should address if it decides to expand its trauma care training program.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||Additional data are needed to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of providing trauma care training to military personnel in civilian centers. Because the authority for the demonstration program at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital expires on March 31, 1998, the Secretary of Defense should consider negotiating a new agreement for a similar program.|
|Department of Defense||The Secretary of Defense should: (1) expedite DOD's efforts to establish an evaluation tool to assist in this assessment; and (2) broaden the scope of the evaluation to include other individual programs that have provided trauma care training to general surgeons as well as other medical personnel.|
|Department of Defense||If DOD determines that the trauma care training concept is feasible and decides to expand such training in civilian trauma care centers, the Secretary of Defense should develop a long-term strategic plan that establishes goals and identifies actions and appropriate milestones for achieving these goals. This plan should: (1) establish criteria for selecting locations for trauma care training that would maximize the experiences of military trainees; (2) identify which medical personnel should receive trauma care training and the frequency of such training; and (3) develop a mechanism to identify those military medical personnel who are likely to deploy early in a conflict so that they can receive priority for medical wartime trauma care training. This plan should also address the training needs of the active and reserve components.|