VA Health Care

Need for Brevard Hospital Not Justified Gao ID: HEHS-95-192 August 29, 1995

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) assumed control of the former Naval Hospital in Orlando, Florida, in June 1995. VA plans to convert the hospital into a nursing home while continuing the operate an existing outpatient clinic. VA also plans to build a new hospital and nursing home in Brevard County, 50 miles from Orlando. GAO concludes that VA's conversion of the former Orlando Naval Hospital into a nursing home and construction of a new hospital and nursing home in Brevard County is not the most prudent and economical use of its resources. These construction projects are based on questionable planning assumptions that may result in the unneeded expenditure of federal dollars. Specifically, VA did not adequately consider the available of hundred of community nursing home beds and unused VA hospital beds as well as potential decreases in future demand for VA hospital beds. VA could achieve its goals in Central Florida by using existing capacity.

GAO found that: (1) VA conversion of the former Naval hospital to a nursing home and the construction of a hospital and nursing home in Brevard County are not a prudent and economical use of VA resources; (2) VA planning assumptions are questionable, particularly those regarding the availability of community nursing home beds and unused VA hospital beds, and the potential decrease in future demand for VA hospital beds; (3) VA could meet its service delivery goals by using existing capacity, which would result in lower costs and greater convenience for the veterans; (4) preserving the Orlando hospital as a hospital would improve the geographic accessibility of VA medical and psychiatric services at a lower cost; (5) the number of unused VA hospital beds is expected to increase because of the projected decline in the veteran population; (6) VA could convert some of the unused medical and surgical beds in the three central Florida hospitals to psychiatric beds to make those beds more geographically accessible to all Florida veterans rather than concentrating them at the new hospital in Brevard County; (7) construction of the Brevard hospital is not justified, since VA greatly overestimated veterans' potential use of Florida VA facilities; and (8) VA needs to focus its strategy on the most prudent and economical use of its limited resources and avoid unnecessary expenditures while meeting its service delivery goals in a more timely manner.


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