August 4, 2003
CARES (Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services) is a landmark study of the nation’s largest health care system, operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“VA can effectively manage and implement an important program such as CARES and deliver results for veterans,” said Principi. “These results may come with difficult choices. As VA enters the process of making these choices in communities across the country, it is important to remember the broad outcomes it seeks – more effective use of VA resources to provide more care, to more veterans, in places where veterans need it the most.”
The draft National Plan is an important milestone in VA’s CARES program to assess veterans’ health care needs and develop a national plan to meet those needs in the future.
“The draft National Plan’s goals are to find savings and reinvest them in doctors, nurses and modern health care equipment -- resources crucial to direct patient care,” said Dr. Robert H. Roswell, VA's Under Secretary for Health. “It makes sure the decisions we make today and in the future are in line with the health care needs of veterans. Bottom line -- the draft plan will allow us to avoid imbalances between the size and location of health care facilities and veterans’ demand for care tomorrow.”
The approximately 100-page plan is divided into 20 chapters and has hundreds of pages of appendices. The draft plan contains key new concepts like
The under secretary’s review was built into the CARES planning process to assure it has a national perspective and a sharing of best practices and solutions to provide equity and balance.
In July 1999, a General Accounting Office study found that VA was spending a million dollars a day on unneeded or unused facilities. CARES was developed to identify the infrastructure VA will need to care for veterans in the 21st century, redirecting resources from unneeded buildings to veterans' care.
“VA’s mission to provide quality health care for
It is important to note that the draft National CARES Plan is still an interim step of the CARES process. No final decisions have been made. The plan now goes to the CARES Commission. During the three months of commission review and hearings, veterans and other stakeholders will have ample opportunity to comment on the plan before it is presented to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for final decision in December.
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