The VA is not achieving the efficiencies it’s seeking from an initiative to consolidate and simplify the buying of supplies called the Medical Surgical Prime Vendor-Next Generation (MSPV-NG) program, for reasons including shortfalls in leadership and understaffing, GAO has said.

It said the Veterans Health Administration, the VA’s medical branch, “lacked a documented program strategy, leadership stability, and workforce capacity for the transition that–if in place–could have facilitated buy-in for the change throughout the organization.”

The office primarily responsible for implementing the program had only 24 of the 40 authorized positions filled at the time of GAO’s work and “program office officials stated that this lack of staff affected their ability to implement certain aspects of the program within the planned time frames.”

“Our work has shown that leadership buy-in is necessary to ensure that major programs like MSPV-NG have the resources and support they need to execute their missions. We have also previously found that leadership must set a tone at the top and demonstrate strong commitment to improve and address key issues. However, leadership of VHA’s procurement and logistics office changed frequently,” it said.

Tight timeframes at the launch contributed to an initial formulary not meeting the needs of the medical centers, as well.