Veterans Administration Should Delay Hospital Construction Projects until GAO Completes Review

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-04-04.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                         DOCUMENT RESUHE

00511 -   A1051915

[Veterans Administration Should Delay Hospital Construction
PrLjects until GAO Completes Review]. B-133044; RD-77-79. April
4, 1977. 2 pp.
Raport to lax Cleland, Administrator, Veterans Administration;
by Gregory J. Abart, Director, Human Resources Div.

Issue Area: Health Programs (1200); Health Programs: Health
    Facilities (1203).
Contact: Human Resource Div.
Budget Function: Veterans Benefits and Services: Hospital and
    Medical Care for Veterans (703),
Congressional Relevance: House Committee on Veterans' Affairs;
    Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

         The methodology the Veterans Administration (VA) used
to determire the bed sizes of the eight hospitals the VA Flans
tc build over the next several years will be examined as part of
an evaluation of the process the VA uses to determine the bed
size of new and replacement hospitals. The computer model to be
used in the review is similar to the one used in a review of the
need for a new naval hospital in San Diego, California. As a
result o this review, the Departsent of Defense is now
genDaily required to use this model in determining hospital
s5;e.  Findings/Conclisions: Preliminary analysis of the bed
requirements at the Richmond, Virginia, and Bay ines, FloritLa,
facilities raises questions concerning whether the number of
acute care beds planned for these two facilities is appropriate,
Permittinq design work to proceed on the existing
architect-engineering contract would be premature and costly, as
would the award of any new contracts to initiate design work.
Recommendations: To avoid incurring unnecessary costs, the VA
Administrator should delay design work on the existing contract
for the Richmond facility and delay awarding any additional
contracts for other hospitals until the reviews at Bay Pies and
Richmond are completed. (RS)
                                     WASHINGTON, D.C   20548


                                                                APR     4 1977

         The Honorable Max Cleland
         Administrator of Veerans Affairs
         Veterans Adminittration
         Dear Mr. Cleland:
              As you aiy know, we are making a comprehensive evaluation of
         the process the Veterans Administratioi (VA) uses to determine the
         bed size of new and replacement VA hospitals. As part o? this review,
         we plan to examine the methodology VA used to determine the bed sizes
         of the eight hospitals VA plans on building over the next few years.
         The planned construction of these hospitals was announced in May 1976.
              The computer model we plan to use in this review is similar to
         the one used inour review of the need for a new Naval hospital in
         San Diego, Califcrnia.l A r.port swas issued to the Congress on this
         matter inApril 1916. On the basis of this review the Department
         of Defense is now generally required to use our model in deternining
         hospital size. The model we will use and our review approach will,
         of course, be modified for use in VA facilities.
               We understand that a contract has recently been awarded for
          architect-engineering (A&E) services for the Richmond, Virginia,
          hospital and that A&E contracts will be awarded in the next two
          weeks for the Bay Pines, Florida, and Martinsburg, West Vir-ginia
               We have done some preliminary analysis of the bed requirements
          at the Richmond and Bay Pines facilities and made a site visit to
          Bay Pines. Our analysis to date raises serious questions as to

          l"Policy Changes and More Realistic Planning Can Reduce Size of
          New San Diego Naval Hospital" (MWD-76-lll, April 1976).


whether the nlanned number of acute care bed& for these two tacilitie;
isappr. riate. Although our analysis i; not complete, we believe
that permitting design work to proceed on the existing A&E contract
or awarding any new A&E contracts to initiate design work would be
premature and may prove to be very costly to the Government if signif-
icant changes are subsequently deemed necessary. To avoid incurring
these unnecessary costs, we are recommending that you delay (1)design
work on the existing A&E contract for Richmond and (2)awarding any
additional contracts for design or construction for all other hospitals
until we complete our review at Bay Pine: and Richmond. We anticipate
that our wor,; at these two hospit;!e will be completed ' 8e to 10 weeks.
     During the review, we will work closely with VA officials to keep
them abreast of our progress and to solicit any suggestionz or concerns
VA may want to express regarding our review.

     We would appreciate being advised of any actions taken or planned
on the matters disclosed n this report.
     As you know, section 236 of the Legislative Reorganization Act of
1970 requires the head of a Federal agency to submit a written statement
on actions taken on our recommendations to tie Houase Committee on
Government Operations nd Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs
not later chan 60 days after the date of the report .nd to the House
and Senate Committees on Appropriations wth the agency's first request
for appropriations made more than 60 days after the date of the report.
     We are sending copies of this report to the Chairmen of the House
and Senate Committees on Appropriations, House Committee on Government
Operations, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and House and
Senate Committees on Veterans' Affairs; and to the Director, Office of
Management and Budget.
                                    Sincerely yours,

                                      regooy J. hart
                                    Dire   or