VA Health Care: Long-Term Care Strategic Planning and Budgeting Need Improvement

Source: United States Government Accountability Office, GAO-09-145, January 23, 2009

In fiscal year 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spent about $4.1 billion on long-term care for veterans. VA provides–through VA or other providers–institutional care in nursing homes and noninstitutional care in veterans’ homes or the community. In response to a statute, VA published in 2007 a long-term care strategic plan through fiscal year 2013. VA includes long-term care spending estimates in its annual budget justifications for Congress. These estimates are based on workload projections–the amount of care to be provided–and cost assumptions. VA has discretion in allocating appropriated funds among its medical services, such as long-term care. GAO examined (1) VA’s reporting of planned workload in its 2007 long-term care strategic plan and (2) VA’s long-term care spending estimates, including its cost assumptions and workload projections, in VA’s fiscal year 2009 budget justification. GAO analyzed budget and planning documents and interviewed VA officials.

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