On March 26, 2020, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) published its first COVID-19-focused report, OIG Inspection of Veterans Health Administration’s COVID-19 Screening and Pandemic Readiness. In that report, the OIG evaluated how the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) was preparing facilities to meet anticipated rising demands. This report outlines VHA’s continued response to the pandemic and provides VHA leaders’ descriptions of the evolving challenges they faced in caring for veterans and potentially nonveteran patients as well. The OIG engaged leaders from 70 selected facilities in discussions about patient-care services provided from March 11, 2020, through June 15, 2020. The discussions covered the management of urgent and emergent care, the adequacy of equipment and supplies, testing capabilities, Community Living Center (nursing home) admissions and discharges, testing protocols, and the engagement of community healthcare partners. Discussions also detailed Veterans Integrated Service Network leaders’ involvement in, and overall support of, facility operations. Finally, the OIG provided VHA leaders the opportunity to comment on plans to manage anticipated COVID-19 surges. Overall, this report highlights a multitude of actions taken by VHA, VISN, and facility leaders to maintain operations during a national emergency. With the uncertainty of timing and magnitude of possible recurrent outbreaks, this review presented strategies that various facilities put into place over the past several months that will hopefully promote discussion and consideration of lessons learned and best practices among facility and community healthcare leaders.
Thursday, July 16, 2020
Agency Reviewed / Investigated:
Submitting OIG-Specific Report Number:
Component, if applicable:
Veterans Health Administration
Type of Report:
Number of Recommendations: