Arlington, VA – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released internal rankings showing almost a dozen of the medical centers that received one out of five stars in quality ratings this year received the same score in 2016. The VA scores 146 of its medical centers based on factors including wait times, instances of avoidable complications, and death and infection rates.
Among the most poorly rated hospitals is the Phoenix VA, where a national scandal emerged in 2014 after hundreds of veterans died while waiting for care. Also among them were three veterans hospitals in Tennessee: Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Memphis, where threats to patient safety dramatically increased in recent years.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“Veterans should not be trapped in failing hospitals that are jeopardizing their health and safety. This is yet another reason why veterans need greater choice in their health care at the VA. No veteran should be forced into a hospital with an extended record of failure – our nation’s heroes deserve better.”
After the Phoenix VA scandal in 2014, legislators instituted the Veterans Choice Program, which was enacted under the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act. The program was intended as a temporary solution to the wait list scandal of 2014. The program was flawed and has been implemented poorly. Despite emergency funding authorized by Congress and signed into law earlier this year to keep the program afloat, the Choice Program is expected to run out of funds by the end of the year.
CVA has advocated for substantial reforms at the VA for years. In CVA’s Fixing Veterans Health Care Taskforce, the group advocates that veterans should have the option to use their health care benefits either at the VA or in the private sector.