Late Breaking News
Poor Coordination Between VA, DoD Continues to Hamper Wounded Warrior Program Cont.
- Categorized in: Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), News, November 2011, Rehabilitation
One recovery coordinator surveyed by GAO said his enrollees have, on average, eight case managers affiliated with different programs. A survey of FRCP enrollees found that 75% of them also were enrolled in one of the military wounded warrior programs.
“Consequently, the intended purpose of these programs — to better manage and facilitate care and services — may actually have the opposite effect,” the October GAO report states.
VA has made some progress in addressing the previously-identified problems, GAO officials said at the follow-up House VA Health Subcommittee hearing last month. Those problems included management issues related to FRCP enrollment decisions, FRC’s caseloads and program staffing needs.
However, DoD has provided only limited assistance, and only with the recommendation regarding enrollment. An e-mail was sent in June to the commanders of all the military services’ wounded warrior programs stating that they should refer all severely wounded, ill and injured servicemembers who could be benefited to the FRCP for evaluation. According to VA, no noticeable change in referral numbers or patterns from DoD have been noticed since that e-mail was sent.
Without better interdepartmental cooperation, GAO predicts that, not only will these problems persist, they also will eventually worsen as enrollment continues to grow.
This news was a source of frustration for committee members, who requested, for the third time, that VA and DoD create a detailed plan to address GAO recommendations.
“The inability of the two departments to work together has added yet another burdensome bureaucratic maze for our wounded warriors and their families to navigate at a time when recovery and reintegration should be their only focus,” said Rep. Anne Marie Buerkle, R-NY, subcommittee chair. “It is clear to me that the FRCP is failing to meet its mission.”