Pandemic underlined urgency of modernizing VA supply chain, GAO says

The pandemic highlighted the "urgent" need to modernize the Department of Veterans' Affairs' healthcare supply chain, the Government Accountability Office stated in a report released June 15

The GAO report was conducted in accordance with congressional direction as part of the CARES Act to monitor funds allocated for pandemic response. The VA received  $19.6 billion in March 2020 and $17 billion in March 2021 for its COVID-19 response effort

The GAO found that "long-standing problems" with the VA's "antiquated inventory management system" exacerbated the VA's supply chain challenges. 

The VA had earmarked more than $4 billion for COVID-19 related products — such as ventilators — and services — such as information technology to support telework — as of May 2021, the GAO found. 

The report said the VA has several initiatives underway to modernize its supply chain, including: 

  • Replacing its antiquated inventory management system with a newer one from the Defense Department
  • Establishing central sources for critical medical supplies 
  • Seeking to participate in a Defense Department program for emergency access to critical supplies 

The GAO in March recommended that the VA develop a comprehensive supply chain management strategy that outlines how its various supply chain initiatives relate to each other, and the VA concurred. 

Read the full report here

 

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