Key Issues > Continuity of Health Care from DOD to VA
veterans icon, source: flickr: The Commons and GAO

Continuity of Health Care from DOD to VA

Many servicemembers that separate from military service will seek medical care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)—especially those who have sustained serious wounds, illnesses, or injuries while on active duty.

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While the Department of Defense (DOD) and VA recognize the importance of providing a seamless transition from DOD’s health care system to VA’s health care system, numerous barriers prevent effective and efficient transitions, especially for servicemembers who have experienced serious wounds, illnesses, or injuries. GAO has reported that:

  • VA and DOD have faced barriers and made limited progress toward developing joint electronic health record capabilities that could improve veterans’ health care.
  • DOD’s and VA’s efforts are limited in terms of their ability to ensure that all servicemembers have the necessary help to manage their medications during transitions of care.
  • Logistical, and other challenges—such as a lack of awareness—may hinder veterans from receiving VA mental health services.
  • DOD and VA have not integrated and aligned the numerous care coordination and case management programs that assist seriously wounded, ill, and injured servicemembers and veterans during their transition from DOD’s to VA’s health care system.
  • The VA/DOD Joint Executive Council assumed responsibility for addressing many of the key challenges that impact transitioning servicemembers, but it remains unclear how the Council, which has traditionally focused on long-term joint strategic planning issues, will provide the consistent and effective policymaking, oversight, and accountability needed to resolve major problems.
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