Department-Level Actions Needed to Assess Collaboration Performance, Address Barriers, and Identify Opportunities

September 28, 2012

What GAO Found

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DOD) do not require that all collaboration sites--locations where the two departments share health care resources through hundreds of agreements and projects--develop and use performance measures to assess their effectiveness and efficiency. Officials cited several reasons for this, including not wanting to overburden sites with measures and monitoring requirements. Although VA and DOD require some limited performance information--such as the return on investment for pilot projects--without comprehensive performance measures, they lack information that could help decision makers assess collaboration sites' overall progress in meeting the departments' shared goals of improved health care access, quality, and costs; identify areas for improvement; and make informed decisions. Also, the departments cannot document the overall cost effectiveness of their collaboration efforts. In the absence of required measures for all sites, some have developed their own, but these fragmented efforts do not provide sufficient information about the overall results of collaborations.

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