DATA: VA making progress in access, accountability, other areas



VA released five new fact sheets today updating progress in the key areas of access to care and benefits, accountability, implementation of the Choice Act and hospital quality care measures.

The fact sheets are titled:

Some key findings in these fact sheets include:

  •  Access to Care
    • 1.1M authorizations for Veterans to receive care in the private sector and other non-VA health facilities (May-Oct.1)—a 46.6 percent increase
    • From June 1, 2014, to September 30, 2014, VA completed 19M appointments for Veterans.
      • Approximately 1.2M more completed VA health care appointments from June 2014 through September 2014, compared to same period in 2013
  • Patient Wait Times: VA has cut wait times and completed appointments in a timely manner
    • The national new patient wait time for Primary Care at VA decreased 18 percent (May 15 – October 1, 2014).
    • Ninety-eight percent of appointments at VA facilities have been completed within 30 days from the Veterans’ preferred date, or the date determined medically necessary by their physician (June to September 30, 2014)
  • Recruiting: VA has increased recruiting and hiring across the country
    • During the second half of 2014, there has been a net increase of 1,578 more nurses and 594 physicians.
  • Phoenix VA Health Care System Access Improvements:
    • Phoenix VA reached out to more than 4,000 Veterans to coordinate the acceleration of their care
    • In addition, the amount of time new patients were waiting decreased by 37 percent at Primary Care clinics (May 15, 2014, to October 1, 2014).
    • From May 15, 2014, to August 30, 2014, the Phoenix VA completed more than 197,000 Veteran appointments.
    • There was a 79.63 percent increase in non-VA care authorizations made by the Phoenix VAHCS over same period in FY13 (May 15, 2013, to September 30, 2013).
  • Accountability: VA has proposed disciplinary action related to data manipulation or patient care against more than 40 employees nationwide.
    • VA received certification from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) under OSC’s 2302(c) Whistle-blower Protection Certification Program, which confirms that Federal agencies meet the statutory obligation to inform their workforce about the rights and remedies available to them under the Whistle-blower Protection and Enhancement Act and related civil service laws.
    • VA worked closely with OSC to successfully resolve whistle-blower retaliation complaints filed by three employees of the VA Phoenix Health Care System.
    • VA has established the Office of Accountability Review (OAR) to ensure leadership accountability for improprieties related to patient scheduling and access to care, whistleblower retaliation, and related matters that impact public trust in VA.
  • Hospital Quality Care Measures
    • In the latest SAIL data release, 147 medical centers were assessed on 26 indicators. The results indicated 93 medical centers showed improvement in overall quality from the third quarter of fiscal year 2013 to the third quarter of fiscal year 2014.
  • Increased Transparency related to Access
    • At the direction of then Acting Secretary Gibson, starting in July 2014, VA has posted regular updates to the patient access data at: http://www.va.gov/health/access-audit.asp. These data updates enhanced transparency and provided information to Veterans and the public on Veterans access to quality health care.
  • Access to Benefits
    • VA completed a record-breaking 1.32 million disability rating claims for Veterans in fiscal year 2014 – over 150,000 more than last year – today it processes 93 percent of Veterans’ disability claims electronically.
    • The accuracy of VA’s decisions continues to rise from an 83-percent accuracy level in 2011 to a 90-percent accuracy level today. When focusing specifically at the medical-issue level, accuracy is at 96 percent.
    • 1.2 million Veterans, Service members, and their Survivors received $13.5B in education and vocational rehabilitation benefits in FY 2014.
    • For the past decade, the American Customer Satisfaction Index has ranked the National Cemetery Administration the top public or private customer-service organization in the Nation—better than every customer-oriented corporation, industry, manufacturer, or organization.
    • VA partnerships supported the hiring of more than 135,000 Veterans through the Veterans Employment Center

Author

Gary Hicks

is the Director of VA’s Office of Digital Media Engagement. He is a former managing editor of a daily newspaper and a Veteran of the U.S. Army. Gary’s wife is a senior master sergeant stationed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Comments

  1. Clara C. Martin    

    On 11/24 I received a bill of over $3,000 for MRI’s and X-Rays taken at my local hospital. I was given the referrals to the hospital because my primary physician at the Washington, DC VAMC isn’t available to see patients most of the time, and, the Radiology Department at the Washington location is usually back logged with appointments.

    I’m afraid that I will be stuck paying these latest bills: Fee Basis hasn’t paid the 2012 bills I incurred after being admitted to the local hospital for 4 days. The same primary failed to correctly diagnose my injured right foot and I ended up in the emergency room of the non-VA hospital where I was admitted.
    There doesn’t seem to be accountability, responsibility, nor consequences for poor treatment at the Veteran hospitals and clinics.

    In addition to improving the Fee Basis Office’s performance, the Eligibility Period should be for 3-5 years versus the current 1 year renewal process. This will greatly reduce the personnel needed to process the eligibility forms, and, free up workers to process payments to non-VA facilities and Veterans.

  2. Corrina    

    Although I have seen some improvement in the VA facility and new staff, there does seem to be other that beed improvement: 1) Pharmacy. Refills should be automatic unless the provider discontinues the prescription. 2) There should be greater availability to women specfic formulations/prescriptions. As a female veteran, I am appalled at the limited options for my care. Not to mention the assumption that I am a spouse when I come into the clinics (requires staff-specific training). 3) Travel reimbursement should be automated when I check in for an appointment. My time is limited and I don’t want to stand in line just to sign a piece of paper for travel reimbursement. 4) Backlog of appeals needs to be reduced to less than 6 months processing not 6 years. 5) C&P exams should be used to determine severity of condition not whether the veteran has a condition. I have military/civilian treatment records indicating a medical condition which was documented while in service. C&P examiner stated it was genetic and I was denied a disability rating. To appeal, I have to provide new documentation. And the real kicker is I am being treated by a neurologist in VA with prescribed medication. 6) Inconsistency in C&P exams. I was seen by a C&P mental health examiner for PTSD and was provided 2.5 hours for the exam. I am an Iraq combat veteran. My Uncle, a Vietnam vet, was seen by the same examiner (5 years after initial application) and he spent 7 minutes with him and stated he had no PTSD. My Uncle has suffered since 1970. He only applied after I returned from Iraq and convinced him he needed treatment. So when I see progress in these areas than I know it is on the right track.

  3. Gordon Goodermote    

    I was a Vietnam era vet but exposed to radiation, V.X. ,Saran, and agent orange and the V.A. doctors say God knows what else. I’m sick my kids are sick I have tried every way told to file and have been denied. What does it take to get recognition to the facts of military or DoD who is the worst enemy the U.S Military ever had. They are worse then the Nazi’s8XF2

  4. Rebecca    

    For my husband, it hasn’t gotten easier to get an appointment. He received a letter dated Oct. 1st. It said for him to call the local clinic for his 6 month checkup with his Primary Care Dr. Called on Oct. 3rd and were told his Dr. was leaving and they didn’t have a replacement but they would call us back. Didn’t hear anything for a month so sent a secure message to the clinic. The reply told us to call the 3rd week of Nov. Called yesterday and were told they couldn’t make appointments yet because the new Dr. isn’t in the computer yet. Told to call back in 2 more weeks. His 6 month check up was due next week. I have to wonder how long it will be after we are able to actually get set up for an appointment before the Dr. will be able to see him. A year and a half ago, he was able to set up an appointment in oncology before they knew who his new oncologist was going to be but now they say they can’t do that at the local clinic.

  5. patrick jahnke    

    Were is the va ? How are they really helping the veterans, what they say, what they do , it sad I got good care in some clinics but she a new doc comes in program he/she does not know were to seen them, for proper care. Pass the buck to another doctor. I was cc doctor for pain management she told if I can’t control stop burn nerve pain she has to stop cc me. Were else do I go for burn nerve pain ? I’m pt it help 2 hrs a week tens unit is on full , pt tens at 70% it goes into scare tissue, so I feel their no va hospital can help me for this. This my 3rd va hospital. And I do know what helps but sorry no narcotics drugs can’t be given.they cut me cold march 1 2014 when my doctor retire, a nurse did it, acting doctor. Where is Bob who cares for veterans, hiding between his staff? Us veteran need 3 day notice when he in the area for a meeting of veterans let’s be fair. Hear our voices,

    Us veterans we all need hold a rally in Washington DC !! We all need group our va center during this rally too, show them who really needs help. We all need show force congress and other office get off their butts.

  6. Lori Smallwood    

    I was having some problems do to a reaction from a sedative I was given from having an endoscopy done plus along with that a cough and was unable to sleep. I go to the VA urgent care for help and find out my primary care doctor had been over medicating me for months. I was sent but still no solution to getting any rest. The next day I get a call from a very angry primary care doctor and she is irate with me and belittles me over the phone. I am trying to explain to her about the ER visit and what happened and she wouldn’t listen to me she wouldn’t listen to me about what was going on either and all I could do was cry. She told me to “Stop being a baby, your problem is mental and you need to contact mental health I can’t help you, now I have more important patients to deal with than dealing with you!”. I hung up on her. This conversation put me immediately In a full fledge flashback, I went to my bedroom with tears in my eyes I got my loaded revolver and before I raised it my daughter came inmy room. Had she not I would not be here. I dropped the gun, I fell to my knees and I balled my eyes out in my daughters arms. I called the VA complained. But we all know how that ended. NothingwS done to her she had no accountability nothing but I did get moved to a different team but that does also mark me now at the VA. The VA is no longer safe.

  7. Larry Underwood    

    Everyday I suffer with pain my teeth are falling out can’t believe the US VA will not provide care for dental health its causes pain like my other body issues ?

  8. Richard M. Levine    

    If the VA would allow access to complete dental care for all enrolled veterans, it would make a quantum leap into the 21th Century. The current limitations on dental care are barbarian and extremely detrimental to the health and quality of life of the veterans it serves. Under the law for Class VI, with loosening of medical condition limitations the VA could allow dental care for all enrolled veterans.

  9. Felix    

    Where is that because in Daytona,Clinic ,VA is the worse,and in Tampa Regional Office, the take more than a year to let me as a vet know,what they are Doing, still waiting on my case 8 years, 7 conditions, they to start taking care of us.

  10. eugene    

    I AM GOING PUBLIC IN GRAND JUNCTION,COLORADO. MY SURGEON REFERRED ME TO TO REHAB . REHAB TOLD TO WAIT. THE VA REFUSES TO TAKE CARE OF ME NOW THAT THEY CUT MY SHOULDER.THE DOCTOR WON’T TELL ME WHAT HE DID.8 DAMN WEEKSAND STILL GET INTO THERAPY.

  11. eugene    

    my local va hospital refuses to give me rehahab after 8 weeks. we will call you. that is the answer from the va hospital in grand juction. colorado. you cut me openbut won’t tak,e care of me.8 weeks since surgery no therapy.now hired lawyer to get treatment.am going to make it public.

  12. Daniel Herman    

    Thank-you for posting these important updates regarding the progress being made at the VA. As a Disabled Vet I have been very Blessed by the VA as a whole, and as a Volunteer I am “sincerely grateful” for the opportunity Serve the VA in Serving Veterans and their Families.

    A Thought To Consider: “With all of the negative Publicity the VA has received, it needs to do a much better job of articulating and communicating through Veterans & Volunteers, the good it has done, its Best Practices, etc.”

    As Thanksgiving approaches, Thank-you VA for Blessing me and my family beyond measure.

  13. Kenna Carolina    

    Has any process being made on the compensation for service connected veterans with dependents backlog.

  14. Glenn Stevens    

    It’s great to see progress being made. I was at the Northampton, MA VAMC today and was surprised to see 2 new options on the check-in kiosks. Ordering medical records and beneficiary travel pay. I’m sure there is a lot more to be done, but progress is being made. I will let my Vet friends know.

    Thank you!

    ps: Is this Captcha code supposed to keep us from posting comments? It sure is gonna make me give up!

    1. Danny    

      Hey Glenn, It is my understanding that the captcha code has something to do with keeping the automated &”techno” comments out.???

  15. patrick jahnke    

    Don’t give bs I hit a deer Fri , sat night knee started in nurse ice it and stay off it a so in for pain, that did not he’ll mon am call urgent nurse again told me go to th er 4 am. I call va clinic dub ia, 830 nurse told me he kinda busy today, call left msg different nurse 10 min later had appt 11 did blood work xray , sent to iowa city Tue clinic. Closed xray Dr read it, wed 9am did not look at it 145 still look at it . 1030 call iowa city read it call Dr office left msg 130 call back still have 10 lys knee pain goto pt waste of my time, I should went er would had results Monday.

  16. William Crosier    

    1st time claims may have improved but appeals take too long. 820 days on average is what I have been told when I inquired at the 800-827-1000 number. My claims process started 12/2008 and I am still appealing. I have had denials and approvals along the way with many contradictions. 2/2014 I received a statement of the Case (denials on my open claims and appeals) 2 weeks later I receive a rating increase to 90% (approvals on some portions of my claims that they just denied) and denials on two other items in my appeal. It appears resolution to my appeals won’t be resolved until summer of 2016, 8 years from my original claim. This is progress?

  17. David Turnbull    

    i have documented failure of my primary care Dr Richard Hanson , VA CBOC , Lewiston Maine, I saw him earlier this past summer for a shoulder problem ( that would later by outside docs proven to have been a rotator cuff tear and ligament tear ) that would have to be fixed outside the VA system, i had brough this to my senators attn and was promptly changed to another provider within the system but to late to correct the present problem. My complaint was summarily dismissed as a “chronic” issue , i was told to use an ointment , i did this to now avail , reached out a second time to my primary care provider and never heard back. I am seeing what y’all are calling accountability, it is time the VA in Togus Maine be held accountable for what went on with my treatment or lack there of. it should also be noted that i reached out to the chief of primary care as well only to be dismissed as i would only hand carry my records

  18. Kervin Andrew Ras    

    While as this page is mention good percent of what it is saying, I feel that it doesnt count the one in Manila Regional Office Philippines. Up until they still havent done with scanning and putting veterans’ medical file electronically and local employees dont even have the decency to give veterans an update.

  19. Raymond R Brown    

    I am a VietNam Veteran of two tours in VietNam and currently rated disabled. I am a Patient at Richard Roudebush VMAC in Indianapolis Indiana. I am truly excited with the addition of Robert McDonald and the changes that are taking place. I am behind him 100% and stand ready to assist in anyway necessary. One question on my mind, that effects me personally, is the giant difference in eye care, from one VMAC to another.
    Here at Roudebush, you are allowed one (1) pair of glasses every two years period. Not a day before. Absolutely no transitional lenses, and only up to a bridge size of 58. Since I am a member of over 7 different Veteran sites, I have found that other VMAC’s across the country offer sometimes two (2) pair of glasses, which may include transition lenses and or contact lenses. Why can’t they all sing from the same hymn book ? I went to a private optometrist, to find that my eyes are very sensative to light and transition lenses should be in place, and the reason the VA glasses were turning my head green were because they were too small!! I require a bridge width of 62 rather than 58. The “DIVA” at the Roudebush Optical shop says “That’s all we have, if you don’t like it , go somewhere else!” These eye clinics seem to be operated like profit centers, and we are treate like Welfare Patients. Aside from tha fact, that I have many other medical problems as a result of A.O., this one bothers me the worst.

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