VA studied itself — here's what it found

Photo credit Department of Veterans Affairs

A Department of Veterans Affairs conducted survey found that VA hospitals outperform or match neighboring non-VA hospitals in surgical quality and overall patient safety satisfaction.

The finding comes from a study conducted by VA and university researchers that was published June 26, in the Journal of Surgical Research.

“For veterans, who often have choices in where they receive care, it is in their best interest to make fully informed health care decisions," said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in a release. ”This study provides valuable information when faced with such an important choice.”  

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Researchers at the White River Junction VA Medical Center in Vermont and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire conducted the study. They identified VA medical centers with at least one non-VA hospital within 25 miles in three U.S. regions, the west-southwest, New England and deep south.

The study sampled 34 VA facilities and 319 neighboring non-VA hospitals, using benchmarks created by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Scores from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems were also used, according to the release.

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“The results showed VA facilities performed better or as good as non-VA hospitals in overall patient safety indicators (PSIs), which measure potential hospital complications and adverse events following surgeries and other procedures. VA hospitals performed much better in surgery specific PSIs,” reads the release.

The researchers also found VA and non-VA hospitals were about equal in patient satisfaction with overall hospital experience.

Study data was collected from Hospital Compare, a public database that helps consumers decide where to seek health care, which is run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

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