Veterans Affairs: Posthearing Questions Concerning the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs Providing Seamless Health Care Coverage to Transitioning Veterans: GAO-04-292R

Curtin, Neal P.
November 2003
GAO Reports;11/24/2003, p1
Government Document
On October 16, 2003, GAO testified before Congress at a hearing on whether DOD and VA are providing seamless health care coverage to transitioning veterans. This letter responds to a request thst we provide answers to follow-up questions from the hearing. VA and DOD have been pursuing ways to share data in their health information systems and create electronic records since 1998, when the Government Computer-Based Patient Record (GCPR) project was initiated. GCPR was envisioned as an electronic interface that would allow physicians and other authorized users at VA, DOD, and Indian Health Service (IHS) health facilities to access data from any of the other agencies' health facilities. Since undertaking this mission, however, VA and DOD have faced considerable challenges, leading to repeated changes in the focus of their initiative and the target dates for its accomplishment. The near-term initiative--the Federal Health Information Exchange--was completed in July 2002 and enabled the one-way transfer of data from DOD's existing health care information system to a separate database that VA hospitals could access. This initiative has shown success in allowing clinicians in VA medical centers ready access to information--such as laboratory, pharmacy, and radiology records--on almost 2 million patients. However, the departments' strategy for an envisioned longer-term, two-way exchange of clinical information is farther out on the horizon. This initiative, HealthePeople (Federal), is premised upon the departments' development of a common health information infrastructure and architecture comprising standardized data, communications, security, and high-performance health information systems. VA and DOD anticipated achieving a limited capability for two-way data exchange by the end of 2005. Nonetheless, VA and DOD continue to face significant challenges in realizing this longerterm capability. In addition, critical to the two-way exchange will be completing the standardization of the clinical data that these departments plan to share. Achieving the technical capability to unify VA's and DOD's patient care records in and of itself will not ensure the seamless transition of health care data. Other issues that the departments need to address include (1) reaching consensus on and implementing data standards, (2) capturing complete and accurate medical information on service members, and (3) ensuring privacy and security compliance.


Related Articles

  • Effect of the Transformation of the Veterans Affairs Health Care System on the Quality of Care. Jha, Ashish K.; Perlin, Jonathan B.; Kizer, Kenneth W.; Dudley, R. Adams // New England Journal of Medicine;5/29/2003, Vol. 348 Issue 22, p2218 

    Background: In the mid-1990s, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system initiated a systemwide reengineering to, among other things, improve its quality of care. We sought to determine the subsequent change in the quality of health care and to compare the quality with that of...

  • Major shake-up ahead.  // Finance Week;9/1/2003, p38 

    Presents industry views on the impact of the social health insurance system on the private health care sector in South Africa. Factual background on the health insurance system; Provision of health benefits in hospitals and clinics; Impact on health care costs.

  • Health Insurance In Mexico: Achieving Universal Coverage Through Structural Reform. Knaul, Felicia Marie; Frenk, Julio // Health Affairs;Nov/Dec2005, Vol. 24 Issue 6, p1467 

    Fairness in finance is an intrinsic and challenging goal of health systems. Mexico recently devised a structural reform that responds to this challenge. Through a new system of social protection in health that will offer public insurance to all citizens, the reform is expected to reduce...

  • Learning from One Another: The Future of Swedish and American Health Care. Gardner, Stephen // Baylor Business Review;Winter/Spring2002, Vol. 19 Issue 2, p8 

    Focuses on the 2001 inaugural Baylor-Stockholm Conference on Health Care Policy which discussed the future of Swedish and U.S. health care. Description of health care in the U.S.; Outlook for health insurance; Comparison between the delivery of health care in Sweden and the U.S.

  • Addressing Racial And Ethnic Barriers To Effective Health Care: The Need For Better Data. Bierman, Arlene S.; Lurle, Nicole; Collins, Karen Scott; Eisenberg, John M. // Health Affairs;May/Jun2002, Vol. 21 Issue 3, p91 

    Racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes and quality of care have been observed among persons with similar health insurance, within the same system of care, and within the same health plan. National efforts to eliminate these disparities are hindered by the lack of race/ethnicity data....

  • MEDI-CHOICE. Elhauge, Einer // New Republic;11/13/95, Vol. 213 Issue 20, p24 

    Defends the use of vouchers in exchange for Medicare benefits proposed by Republicans in a reform bill in the U.S. Congress. Contribution of Medicare funding waste to problems in the national budget; Other competing reform bills proposed in Congress; Source of Medicare funding deficit; Effect...

  • Your Company Health Plan May Ruin You. Rodberg, Leonard // Progressive Populist;8/15/2009, Vol. 15 Issue 14, p13 

    The article cites several studies regarding the condition of medical care and health insurance in the U.S. The author states that several studies reveal that the country's healthcare system and insurance policies to degrade and become inefficient that affects millions of Americans. The author...

  • 'Significant' Increases In Medicare Advantage Health Plan Rates Aimed At Supporting Better Service.  // Insurance Advocate;1/26/2004, Vol. 115 Issue 4, p30 

    Focuses on the increases in federal payment rates for Medicare Advantage health plans aimed at supporting improvements in services and lower costs for Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in private health plans in the U.S. Total amount of the increase; Benefits of the increase to seniors.

  • Are all health plan networks the same? A recent survey says they aren't.  // Managed Healthcare Executive;Jun2004, Vol. 14 Issue 6, p38 

    Presents the results of a study showing that health plan networks accessibility varies sufficiently to influence health plan selection by benefits consultants and buyers in the United States. Percent of consumers with access to a minimum number of providers of various types within specified...


Read the Article

Other Topics