What the Department of Veterans Affairs was trying to achieve with these purchases was to provide homeless veterans with the equipment they needed to increase the number of telehealth visits. Those are video calls between doctors and patients and during the worst of the pandemic it was the safest way to get some form of medical help from a doctor. The number of telecare visits has increased from 2,500 in February 2020 to 38,000 in September 2020.
The Department of Veterans Affairs bought 80,930 iPads, but the Agency lost $571,000 in expired prepaid data plans
The Inspector General concluded that Veterans Health Administration officials, who were part of the Connected Care program, had made a good faith effort to get smartphones into the hands of veterans, but the plan suffered ” lack of information for officials able to determine the amount needed for the intended veteran population.” The report called on the agency to come up with improvements in the way it stores smartphones and tablets.
The IG’s report concluded, “Officials could reduce the cost of wasted data plans by setting a realistic target for storage days, closely monitoring device storage days on each type of data plan, and then taking corrective action if necessary. “