VA Health CareVA Plans Will Delay Establishment of Hawaii Medical Center Gao ID: HRD-92-41 February 25, 1992
Because Hawaii has no VA hospital, the acute care needs of veterans have traditionally been met through a VA sharing agreement with Tripler Army Medical Center and contracts with community hospitals. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has plans on the drawing board for a medical center in Hawaii. With respect to the planned medical center, this report discusses whether (1) VA could increase its presence in Hawaii and provide acute and long-term care services to the state's veterans sooner than currently planned, (2) VA has accurately projected its acute care bed needs in light of the Hawaii health insurance mandates, and (3) excess bed capacity exists at Tripler Army Medical Center that could be used to meet those needs.
GAO found that: (1) VA plans to construct additional acute care capacity at Tripler will delay the creation of a distinct VA presence in Hawaii, duplicate existing care capacity, and increase costs without providing a commensurate increase in access to care for Hawaiian veterans; (2) VA allowed for adequate capacity, including 69 acute care beds, in renovations at Tripler to meet the acute care needs of Hawaii's veterans; (3) VA also has excess capacity in operating rooms and intensive care units; (4) at the time the Secretary of Veterans Affairs made the decision to construct additional acute care beds, he may not have been aware of the deficiencies in the projection of VA acute care bed needs, the existence of 69 acute care beds specifically for veterans at Tripler, and the concerns of veterans living on the outer islands about VA plans to make them use the planned VA medical center rather than community hospitals closer to their homes; and (5) VA has not considered the potential effects of the almost universal health insurance coverage available to Hawaiians.Recommendations
Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.Director: Team: Phone: