Better Coordination Needed to Negotiate Consistent Prices for Prescription Eyeglasses

Report Information

Issue Date
Report Number
VA Office
Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
Report Author
Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type
Report Topic
Care Coordination
Community Care
Contract Integrity
Patient Care Services Operations
Major Management Challenges
Healthcare Services
Stewardship of Taxpayer Dollars
Questioned Costs
Better Use of Funds
Congressionally Mandated



The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted this review to assess whether the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) maintains price consistency across vendors and contracts when purchasing prescription eyeglasses for veterans.

In fiscal year 2022, VHA spent about $127.9 million to provide eyeglasses to nearly 1.4 million veterans. Contract vendors provided 85 percent of these eyeglasses, with two vendors supplying approximately 82 percent through multiple regional contracts. The review team determined that contract prices and pricing structures for the same or similar eyeglasses differed by contract for these two vendors, sometimes more than $10 per item from the same vendor. In most instances, contract files did not include evidence to suggest that contracting officers discussed and compared pricing prior to awarding contracts, nor was there information on why prices might differ for the same or similar eyeglasses.

VHA has opportunities to use strategic sourcing strategies for eyeglasses to improve consistent pricing, particularly on multiple contracts from the same vendor. Such strategies could include developing a pricing catalog or national contracts. The executive director of VHA’s prosthetic services office told the OIG review team of plans to establish such a national contract for VHA’s community care program to prescribe and provide about 459,000 eyeglasses annually over five years. Even if that contract is executed, VHA could still save $2.9 million annually by improving price consistency on VA-prescribed eyeglasses from these two vendors.

The OIG made two recommendations to the under secretary for health: coordinate program offices to develop and implement a sourcing strategy for VA-prescribed eyeglasses from contract vendors, and implement a process to assist contracting officers in collaborating to ensure the best pricing for similar products.

Open Recommendation Image, SquareOpenClosed and Implemented Recommendation Image, CheckmarkClosed-ImplementedNot Implemented Recommendation Image, X character'Closed-Not Implemented
No. 1
Open Recommendation Image, Square
to Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

Coordinate with the executive director of the Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service and officials from the Veterans Health Administration’s Procurement and Logistics Office and the VA Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction to develop and implement a sourcing strategy, such as national contracts or a pricing catalog across all contracts by vendor for eyeglasses prescribed by a VA provider.

No. 2
Open Recommendation Image, Square
to Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

Coordinate with the executive directors of the Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service and the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Procurement to implement a process to ensure contracting officers coordinate before awarding any Veterans Integrated Service Network–level contracts for eyeglasses to make sure these vendors offer the Veterans Health Administration the best pricing that is also consistent for the same or similar items to the extent possible.

Total Monetary Impact of All Recommendations
Open: $ 6,500,000.00
Closed: $ 0.00