VA’s $900 Million Caregiver Program Bogged Down by Bad Data, IT Issues, GAO Finds
By Patricia Kime
17 Sep 2019
The VA missed a progress deadline on building the needed system on Oct. 1, 2018, and the department will not be able to certify the system by Oct. 1, 2019, as required by Congress. This means that caregivers of veterans from the Vietnam War and earlier will not be able to apply as expected starting Oct. 1.
In this March 31, 2015, file photo, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center is shown in Portland, Oregon. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)Inaccurate data kept by the Department of Veterans Affairs on its staff for the Family Caregiver Program and delays in the technology infrastructure needed to expand the program are hampering an effort to include the caregivers of injured veterans from World War II through Vietnam, a government watchdog agency has found.
The Government Accountability Office released a report Monday noting that the number of staff supporting the Family Caregiver Program at VA medical centers does not match the data kept by the program office -- an inaccuracy that prevents the VA from fully understanding the number of personnel that will be needed as the program grows.
The GAO also found that delays in implementing a new information technology system needed to support the program mean the expansion, mandated by Congress, is not expected for at least a year.
"The initial replacement for the Caregiver Application Tracker is not expected until late October 2019. Further, despite this initial deployment and additional releases expected through the summer of 2020, the department has not yet fully committed to a date by which it will certify that the new IT system fully supports the program," GAO analysts noted in the report.
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