VA makes quality, patient satisfaction and wait times transparent

The Department of Veterans Affairs launched its Access and Quality Tool that allows veterans to see patient wait time and care quality data online.

The tool, accessible here, allows veterans to see how quickly their local VA can see them, as well as facility-specific patient satisfaction scores and how their VA facility's care quality stacks up to other local, non-VA hospitals.

"Veterans must have access to information that is clear and understandable to make informed decisions about their healthcare," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, MD. "This allows veterans to see how VA is performing."

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The VA hopes this tool will "instill a spirit of competition and encourage [our] medical facilities to proactively address access and quality issues" and also empower veterans to choose the best care option for them, according to Poonam Alaigh, MD, the VA's acting under secretary for health.

Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group, called the VA's new tool "bold" in an emailed statement, and invited VA hospitals to participate in the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey to "further their bold commitment to transparency."

The statement from Ms. Binder continues, "Our nation's veterans, and all U.S. citizens, deserve nothing less than full transparency from the facilities that they rely on for care."

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