The working group concluded that consolidating acute medical and surgical services at the naval hospital was possible and desirable. From the Navy’s perspective, the benefits included
From the VA’s perspective, the naval hospital was more modern and better addressed the population’s health care needs. The VA could close two 50-year-old psychiatric inpatient buildings that were expensive to maintain and operate and move the patients into the main hospital facility, Building 133, which was 20 years old, after renovation that would be less costly than upgrading the building to acute-care standards.
VA and Navy officials also noted that such a major sharing agreement could set a precedent and provide a model for additional VA/DoD sharing arrangements. The officials also pointed out, however, that the VA/DoD sharing act (Public Law 97-174) did not address a number of administrative and personnel issues that would have to be resolved.
The same issues confronted the planners of the Lovell FHCC and, in some instances, had to be resolved by special legislation (see Chapter 3).
By the time the GAO reported on the situation, both the Navy surgeon