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- SURPRISE INSPECTIONS INDICATE IMPROVED HEALTHCARE AT VA BUT MORE TO BE DONE - August 9, 2016
Surprise Inspections Show VA Health Care Improvement Since Phoenix Scandal
By Kellie Lunney, Government Executive
The Veterans Health Administration has improved the quality of and access to health care for vets over the past two years, but the agency’s continuing struggle with hiring and retaining employees is undermining its mission, according to a newly-released report from an outside organization.
“Staffing shortages significantly impacted the organization’s ability to meet veterans’ needs and led to delays in care,” said a Joint Commission survey of 139 VHA facilities and 47 community-based outpatient clinics between October 2014 and September 2015. The Joint Commission, which is a widely-respected independent non-profit that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the country, began conducting surprise surveys of the facilities soon after the 2014 scandal erupted in Phoenix involving patient wait times and access to care. The Veterans Affairs Department asked the Joint Commission to do the review, and provided performance data and other information as benchmarks so surveyors could target VHA’s biggest weaknesses and properly assess the validity of the agency’s statistics. Individual facilities, however, did not know when the Joint Commission planned to pop in for a review.
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