Medicare survey shows, VA hospitals out-performing private hospitals

This recent article on NPR was passed on to me after a recent conversation with Steve Early who along with Suzanne Gordon write articles on veteran’s affairs. Usually and in this instance, NPR is careful who or what they support. However, you still have to read things carefully.

Steve in conjunction with Suzanne Gordon and Jasper Craven recently released their book “Our Veterans.” I post on the bool most recently. The book “critically examines the role of advocacy organizations, philanthropies, corporations, and politicians who purport to be ‘pro-veteran.’ They describe the ongoing debate about the cost, quality, and effectiveness of healthcare provided by commercial interests and/or outsourced by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).”

The following NPR article touches upon the VA hospital care in relation to commercial hospital care.

VA hospitals are outperforming private hospitals, latest Medicare survey shows, NPR, Quil Lawrence

nationwide Medicare survey released Wednesday is finding veterans rate Veterans Affairs hospitals higher than private health care facilities in all 10 categories of patient satisfaction.

(Performance Stats: Click on image to enlarge. You may have to go to the original site if too small)

The VA takes care of about 9 million veterans at 1,255 facilities and is the nation’s largest integrated health care system. Despite many widely publicized scandals, VA health care has been consistently rated as competitive with private care in dozens of peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Shereef Elnahal, VA undersecretary for health . . .

“I strongly believe the VA is the best option for veteran care. Study after study shows that quality and patient safety is at least as good if not better than our private sector counterparts.”

This most recent survey (chart), known as HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), shows the VA beat out private facilities in all categories surveyed, such as patient satisfaction, hospital cleanliness and communication with nurses and doctors. Elnahal told NPR. . .

“This offers among the first opportunities to directly compare us with our private sector counterparts, and we’re really happy with the results but we won’t be content until 100% of hospitals are pinging in the right ratings.”

Favorably comparing with the private sector is important for the VA, because Congress has expanded the VA’s use of private care as an option when veterans have to wait too long or travel too far for a VA appointment. Private care is much more expensive then the VA and also for the VA.

Republicans in Congress, who generally support greater use of private care, have even accused the VA of obstructing it. Most recently, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mike Bost wrote to VA Secretary Denis McDonough about what he called his “complete frustration with the Veterans Health Administration’s lack of timely action to provide community care to veterans that … are in dire need of timely care.” Bost wrote . . .

“I hope you share my frustration. These roadblocks do not serve veterans well and we must do better.”

AB: There are instances of a failure to provide the proper care or administrative faux pas. A well known hospital was going to give me Heparin while there. Heparin thins the blood. The problem? My platelets were already low at 10,000. It gets frustrating and I always follow up and ask questions.

Privatization’s Four Ds are being used to Defund, Degrade, Demonize, and Dismantle VA Healthcare and Privatize it, Angry Bear, angry bear blog