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Health IT Infrastructure Delays VA’s Family Caregiver Program Growth

September 17, 2019 / Fred Donovan

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has failed to implement new health IT infrastructure that fully supports the Family Caregiver Program, which is holding up a congressionally mandated expansion of the program, the GAO concluded. First established in 2011, the Family Caregiver Program provides support and services to family caregivers of post-9/11 veterans who sustained a serious injury in the line of duty. It provides primary family caregivers with a monthly stipend, training, and other support services, such as counseling and respite care. The VA MISSION Act also directed the department to implement a new IT system that would allow for data assessment and monitoring of the program. The act instructed the VA to deploy am IT system able to retrieve data to monitor workload trends at VA medical center and aggregate levels, manage an increased number of caregivers as the program expands, and integrate with other IT systems at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).