The Department of Veterans Affairs, commonly referred to as the VA, releases a VA hospital report card yearly. The VA system includes 1,400 hospitals that treat nearly five million patients each year.
The VA began issuing these annual report cards in 2008. The goal is to highlight areas where improvements are needed, as well as those where improvements were made.
Basic Facts about the VA Hospital Report Card
The VA hopes their Hospital Report Card will provide a snapshot as to the overall quality and volume of care administered by the agency. It is an effort at transparency that details overall performance in various fields, including:
- Availability of Services
- Infection Rates
- Medical Staffing
- Patient Outcomes
- Patient Satisfaction
- Surgical Volume
- Quality Measures
- Quality of Care
- Wait Times
Specific Measurements for the Report Card
The VA hopes veterans, seniors, and their families will use the report cards in order to make informed decisions when choosing hospitals. It measures the quality of care in six categories according to whether or not the care was:
How Does the VA Hospital Report Card Impact Health Care?
The VA is using the annual report card to highlight changes that are needed, changes that have been made, and how quickly improvements are being experienced.
The areas below showcases just some of the notable changes resulting from deficiencies noted in prior report cards.
The 2009 report revealed that more needed to be done for women Veterans. This information resulted in the inclusion of women’s advocates in outpatient clinics and medical centers and mini-residency programs related to women’s health issues for all primary care physicians. By 2013, the new report card indicated that women Veterans are more likely to receive effective care in the VA system than in the private sector.
2009 results showed that 89 percent of Veteran patients received counseling for smoking cessation, which represents a six percent improvement over 2008 results. In 2011 and 2012, the Veterans Hospital Administration outperformed the private sector on the percentage of smoking cessation advice received from practitioners.
In 2011, 94 percent of Veterans at risk for pneumonia received the immunization, which represents a four percent improvement over the numbers in 2008.
Why Issue a VA Hospital Report Card?
The VA health care system faces many challenges in public perception of the care they provide. The report card is an effort to not only be more transparent in the quality and scale of the care they provide, but also to be more accountable to the men and women who have served our country so faithfully.
The 2013 report card, based on data from fiscal year 2012, is the most recent available at this time. This report is a “must read” report for Veterans making decisions about your health care and home care needs.
Veterans can also access Hospital Compare for additional information.
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