High Demand Swamps Caregiver Program

~ By Freddy Groves ~

The Government Accounting Office report “Actions Needed to Address Higher-Than-Expected Demand for the Family Caregiver Program” is grim. The report assesses the program that was established in 2010 to support family caregivers of seriously injured post-9/11 veterans.

The program was to include a stipend equal to the cost of home health assistance, respite, training, health insurance for the caregiver and mental-health support. First, however, a caregiver must be approved and the veteran assessed.

Fact: The Veterans Health Administration guesstimated that 4,000 caregivers would be approved for the program. Already 15,600 caregivers have been approved. The Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers haven’t been able to keep up with the workload. They put ONE support coordinator staffer in each medical center. Additionally, onsite nurses and physicians were to handle home visits and medical assessments within a certain timeframe. They weren’t ready either, and some 500 caregivers are being added to the roster every month.

Fact: The staff didn’t have access to the workload data they needed to monitor the effects of the program because the software was developed to handle a much smaller program and therefore might not be reliable.

To read the whole report, go online to gao.gov and put GAO-14-675 in the search box.

Freddy Groves regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Send email to columnreply2@gmail.com.
© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

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