Building Transparency into VA Facilities

As part of the continuing effort of the federal government to become more transparent and accountable to the public, VA has released Aspire, a dashboard that allows anyone to track the performance of VA hospitals and clinics at the national, regional and local level.  All 21 VA regions and 153 Medical Centers are given a score based on the aspirational goal of the Department to deliver exceptional care. Patient safety, clinical effectiveness, efficiency, timeliness, patient centeredness, and equitable care were chosen as metrics based on the Institute of Medicine’s “Crossing the Quality Chasm” report.  The Aspire dashboard is an extension of Hospital Compare, a tool used to see how VA hospitals stack up against one another in a particular state.

The data presented in the Aspire dashboard is admittedly complex, and the utility of the application may be unclear at first.  But the implications for the Aspire data reside in tomorrow, not today.  The data allows the Department to evaluate the performance of each VA facility by zeroing in on both successes and areas in need of improvement.  That helps drive a natural competition between facilities—which will benefit Veterans, their family members and caregivers.  We’re tracking on its user friendliness, and the developers are working on ways to present the data more clearly.

Take a look at Aspire and let us know what you think about the initiative.  Will it help you determine how and where to get your medical care?

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10 Comments to “Building Transparency into VA Facilities”

  1. David Gordon says:

    This may be good info. for a vet that can hospital shop. But when you only have one choice in your state what use is it. How many Vets can afford to drive to another state because that hospital offers better whatever. I think this is a waste of time and money.


    • Alex Horton says:

      David, you might be able to use it for that purpose, but other Veterans will benefit in that way. My take is this: everyone in the world can now see how individual VA facilities perform. No one wants to see in plain text that they’re not as good as someone else. It could motivate entire facilities to compete with others in the area. Veterans will be better off if that idea takes flight.

  2. Francis Bill says:

    Unless they included feedback from Vets. This is worthless. I have an undiagnosed illness. and the VA I go to has stopped looking for why I am sick. I know I am not the only one that has an undiagnosed illness that the VA has stoped looking for.

  3. James S says:

    Looks like this needed info using this technology, one of many roadblocks over these years from congress and mostly (R)’s, are attracting the reactive vets and not so much the proactive working for their brothers and sisters! To bad!!

  4. Dan Goff says:

    This demonstrates VA needs more staff to get the job done, a fact known already. How will this impact homeless veterans and prevent no shows to appointments?

  5. Francis Bill says:

    I would think it would be better if all VA medical facilities worked together not trying to out due each other. From all my research I belive I have hyperaldosteronism But my VA doesn’t understand how to test or treat it I can’t get the help I need. I do kow there is at least one VA medical center that teaches what it is and how to treat it. Why can’t they teach other va’s what it is and how to treat it.

  6. Jason Kahl says:

    Nothing is going to replace Doctors and Nurses’s. VA could make better use of its budget to hire more of both instead of trying to convince us everything is ok, its NOT!

    Instead of using best practices across the board each hospital is mostly left to them to run. If McDonalds can make a cheese burger taste the same through all around the world VA should. What you get and what it taste like is a real problem.

    Right now VA is TRYING WAY too hard to change its image without changing the Product, its not going to work.

    Start with the attitude of VA employees, they are there to Serve Veterans and to GIVE benefits the idea its free clinic needs to be drummed out and eradicated.

    Next let’s address Fraud, I see TONS of people all the time trying to cheat on stuff like Travel Pay and other services. VA could save a TON on cracking down on even ATTEMPTING to defraud VA will mean a 6 month loss of ALL services, Second Attempt 1 Year, Third Attempt Ban for life. Any successful fraud would be a Ban for Life.

    What has VA done to Improve on the Ground Healthcare, these are the ONLY metric’s that should be looked at. Your just throwing stuff up against the wall and seeing what sticks.

    Start by having the Claims Rep running each claim to call the Vet and tell them which way the claim is going, correct the problems before they come up, every time you mess something up it just causes 6 months to a year to correct something that should have only taken 3 min, IF SOMEONE WOULD CALL FIRST!

    Fire the current advisors, them telling you yes and the dumb programs coming out need to GO!…The NASCAR jerk that spent a HALF MILLION on that needs to ride out on a POLE!
    Where is all the income for the research VA is paying for, companies are making HUGE bucks off what VA is paying for. We should get OWNERSHIP rights off of VA research dollars, put it into MORE RESEARCH!..

    VA needs to hire everyday Vet’s not just the “Privileged Few” their voice should be equal to any 4 Star! Veteran’s OverSite!
    Call me I can tell you what to do next…

    • Alex Horton says:

      Jason, I’m no medical care expert, but I’m not aware of a great doctor shortage at VA. There is only so much room and so many doctors you can staff. I really doubt there is any hospital, VA or otherwise, that has exactly the amount of doctors, surgeons and nurses that it needs to operate seamlessly and without issues.

      I understand your frustration with the way money is spent here. It took getting in the building for me to get why and how money is spent. Offices and programs are allocated budgets, and it’s federal law that those budgets are spent for their respective initiatives. I couldn’t tell you how it’s broken down, but I know you couldn’t have taken the GI Bill NASCAR sponsorship money and spent it on hiring ten doctors, for example. Different budgets and different restrictions. How much and how little certain offices and programs should get is another subject altogether, and not one I’m really privy to.

      About a third of all VA employees are Veterans. Personally I’d like to see that number higher too.

  7. Kelvin says:

    This is nice because now public can keep an eye too. The only complain I have is that the Web page work only on Internet Explorer.

  8. Dwight Bailey says:

    Transparency??? What good will that? I can’t get Seattle VA to communicate properly with The Spokane VA and the other way around. Lets talk about cost savings when you are sent to Seattle from Spokane for a CT scan which could have been done in Spokane. Going to Seattle to have blood work done before a surgery in Seattle when it could have been ordered for Spokane and the results there.Surgeons in Seattle that want to send you to a rumatogilist to repair a torn brevis in you ankle so you have to seek private insurance and thank God I have it compared to vets that do not to get my tendon repaired. Yes it cost me money and VA refuses to pay for it. Yes this is service connected. I can go on and on. I am so frustrated with the VA and its care. It is sad that I now have to laugh about it along with my friends I have told. None of this should be happening to a Vet. The worst is when you here fro our Commander in Chief on down all saying we give or vets the best care.Well here’s a challenge to them and all the employees at VA. Start using there health care service as it is good enough for the Vets but apparently not good enough for you to use. I have asked numerous VA employees if they use the VA care and they all say NO.