Frank emailed information to share here on a hot topic: VA hospital quality ratings. Frank’s advice for dual-eligible veterans –those who have options–is to be very selective about which services to get from the VA and which from private hospitals.
Reviews and ratings can help decision-making especially when considering the controversial topic of VA-privatization. Veterans, depending on their residences, are highly divided on privatization (e.g. voucher schemes) yet positive on Choice (non-VA care) closer to home. But they don’t want their best performing hospitals closed down; good options thus removed by VA policies.
Frank spied an interesting promotional comment in a Military Times (MT) pro-McDonald 12/9/16 article (Link). Neil Barrett has created an attractive website, VA Review (Link) where users of VA services can report on their experiences. It’s a great concept. But, given that VA staffers may read comments and be offended, posting anonymously is wise.
Another MT comment (12/10) about the impending forced closure of a large VA SD facility illustrates the plight of happier vet-patients .
“…over the pleas of thousands of us who regularly use the facility, against Save the VA recommendations…I will now have a five hour drive, one way, for VA care. Absolute bummer.”
The Secretary plans to (Link)–
Reconfigure services by closing the inpatient and nursing home units, the operating rooms and urgent care facilities
These services would then be purchased at Fall River Hospital and other community hospitals closer to Veterans’ homes
Gradually reduce the number of VA employees in Hot Springs; no VA employees will lose their jobs
Build a new Community Based Outpatient Clinic with a dialysis unit either co-located with the Fall River Hospital or the State Veterans Home, or free-standing
Buy pharmacy, laboratory and x-ray services at Fall River Hospital
But private tiny Fall River’s 2010 facility only has 25 acute beds!
And there is no rating info. on Medicare’s Hospital Compare.
Ben Krause (Link) posted information about USA Today’s articles (Dec. 7 ), Exclusive: Internal documents detail secret VA quality ratings; Scroll to end to use the VA hospital tool search 146 records: (Link) In the case of Hot Springs VHA campus, we see this:
This backs up the praises one reads from vets: Mystery in Hot Springs: Veterans are baffled and furious as VA prepares to abandon a medical center that serves three states (Link).
Maybe it is time for a new operating theater–so build it on the campus! And these old buildings are expensive to heat. So generate free energy with Tesla’s new solar roof tiles. But as a top VA hospital, who is this not working for? And why such a hasty push by the Obama administration? If the veteran population is expected to decrease, open it up ALL veterans in the region regardless of Priority groups? And why not allow non-VA paying customers in–or at the very least, family members? Those are called pilot programs.
McDonald’s big idea and big carrot? He wants to turn two buildings into call centers (120 jobs) to offset job loses.
The USA Today ratings are garnering attention in SD:
Hot Springs VA ranks among highest in ‘secret’ VA ratings (Link).
Takaway: If you want to re-purpose a hospital, do it to the one-stars–not the five-stars!