Big differences in VA care quality

Sloan Gibson, the acting head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, pledged to end delays in care for veterans Monday. And, as the VA begins to address its problems, McClatchy looks back on what it might have done well.

The Wall Street Journal: Veterans Affairs Hospitals Vary Widely In Patient Care
The Phoenix facility at the heart of the crisis at the Department of Veterans Affairs is among a number of VA hospitals that show significantly higher rates of mortality and dangerous infections than the agency's top-tier hospitals, internal records show. The criticism that precipitated last week's resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has focused largely on excessive wait times for appointments across the VA's 150-hospital medical system (Burton and Paletta, 6/2).

Reuters: Acting VA Chief To Get U.S. Vets Into Clinics, Stop Abuses 
The acting chief of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday pledged to swiftly address medical scheduling abuses at the agency and get thousands of veterans off waiting lists and into clinics for care. VA Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, who took over after Eric Shinseki resigned on Friday over the care delay scandal, said he would swiftly address the misconduct or mismanagement that led to cover-ups of long appointment delays for veterans (Lawder, 6/2).

McClatchy: VA's Health Care System: Problems Undo Years Of Progress
Wanted: A heath care system "uniquely positioned to lead the country in making ... positive changes in the way health care is delivered." It's not likely that the Department of Veterans Affairs will be getting many takers on that anytime soon. But just four months ago, that was the assessment the head of the VA's health care system offered in an article for a publication that serves health care professionals working in government health services (Adams, 6/2)..

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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