Department of Defense Needs a Strategic Approach to Contracting for Health Care Professionals

May 28, 2013

What GAO Found

The military departments--the Army, Navy, and Air Force--generally use competition and fixed-price contracts when contracting for medical professionals. These practices can provide lower prices or reduced risk for the government. The military departments use a number of contract arrangements, including contracts awarded to multiple health care staffing companies, for health care professionals. Military department analyses indicate that multiple-award contracts result in lower prices compared to other contract arrangements.

The Department of Defense (DOD) does not have a consolidated agency-wide acquisition strategy for medical services. In the absence of such a strategy, contracting for health care professionals is largely fragmented. For example, the military departments had not consolidated their staffing requirements by developing joint contracts beyond a limited number of instances amounting to about 8 percent of the fiscal year 2011 spending on health care professionals. The departments have made efforts to use multiple-award contracts to consolidate intraservice staffing requirements, but GAO identified several instances where multiple task orders were placed for the same type of provider in the same area or facility. A more consolidated strategic sourcing strategy could allow DOD to acquire medical services in a more cost-effective way. 

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