71% of VA hospitals improved overall quality, agency finds

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued a Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning report Sept. 18 showcasing significant improvement at a majority of VA healthcare facilities.

Here are four things to know:

1. The SAIL report, which has been released to the public quarterly since 2015, analyzes 27 quality and productivity metrics involving death rates, complications and patient satisfaction at 146 VA medical centers nationwide.  

2. The July 2018 version of the SAIL report found 103 VA hospitals (71 percent) improved in overall quality. The largest gains were in patient mortality, length of stay and avoidable adverse events, which were all targeted by agency wide improvement initiatives

3. Seven VA hospitals (5 percent) saw a decrease in quality.

4. The agency also reported improvements for the 15 medical centers placed under its Strategic Action for Transformation program, which monitors high-risk hospitals and provides resources to better assist them. Of these medical centers, five (33 percent) are no longer considered high-risk and 11 (73 percent) have demonstrated meaningful improvements since being place in the program in January.

"This is a major step in the right direction to improving our quality of services for our veterans," said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in a press release. "Over the past year, we were able to identify our problems and implement solutions to fixing the issues at 71 percent of our facilities. I'm extremely proud of our employees and the progress they have made to raise VA's performance for our nation's heroes."

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