FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Inspector General (IG) Robert P. Storch announced today that the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (DoD OIG) released a report on the “Audit of Triage and Support Services for Sexual Assault Victims at DoD Medical Treatment Facilities.”
This report highlights concerns regarding the consistency of the triage levels assigned by DoD Medical Treatment Facilities for sexual assault victims and the adequacy of documentation supporting the assignment of triage levels, the offer of a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE), and notification of support services.
The report released today identified that DoD emergency department providers did not assign consistent triage levels for sexual assault victims who received care during FY 2021, and that the DoD did not consistently document triage levels, SAFE offers, or notification information for sexual assault victims who received emergency care at medical treatment facilities.
IG Storch stated, “The inconsistent assignment of triage levels could result in sexual assault victims not receiving timely medical care and critical support services at DoD emergency departments, which could prolong the physical and emotional harm experienced by those victims. In addition, inadequate documentation of the care provided limits DoD’s ability to verify whether emergency department providers gave sexual assault victims access to needed care and services.”
To address these issues, the DoD OIG made a number of recommendations, including that the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) conduct a study concerning triage levels for sexual assault victims, and revise DoD guidance to prescribe a specific triage level for sexual assault victims or a minimum level that meets the requirements for priority and uniformity. Additionally, the DoD OIG recommended the Assistant Secretary revise DoD guidance for emergency department providers to better document care to sexual assault victims.