Veterans Health Administration Fights Back in Bad Taste


In bad taste and just days after revealing the full scope of its wrongful death cover-up, the Veterans Health Administration bragged up its high marks from satisfaction surveys. 

Two recent satisfaction surveys, conducted by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), reveal high customer satisfaction rates of veteran patients. The Veterans Administration claims their satisfaction rates across the nation are equal to or better than private hospitals rated by civilian patients.

The clear bias in the announcement is that the surveys did not rate veterans who use only health care outside the Veterans Health Care system. This ignores an obvious reality that the Veterans Administration should be all to familiar with – veterans are not like non-veterans. What we think is great may be subpar to non-veterans.

As a veteran, I can say that my satisfaction sensor is not as keen as my civilian counterparts, and I assume I am not alone. We just are not as high maintenance as other people groups, relatively speaking.

Sadly, the surveys not only miss the mark, but they do not focus on what the Department of Veterans Affairs needs to focus on – patient safety and transparency.

Veterans are getting killed in VA Medical Centers by inadequate care and a lack of resources. Clearly, the Veterans Health Administration is not alone in patient deaths happening inside hospital walls. However, on the other hand, the Veterans Health Administration is most certainly #1 in cover-ups when their veteran patients are harmed.

Here are the two surveys and the press release. Do you think VA’s timing is in bad taste just following the hearings on wrongful deaths cover-ups?

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ACSI – VHA Inpatient Survey:

ACSI – VHA Outpatient Survey:

Independent 2013 Survey Shows Veterans Highly Satisfied with VA Care

 Higher rating than Private-Sector Hospitals on Average

WASHINGTON — The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), an independent customer service survey, ranks the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) customer satisfaction among Veteran patients among the best in the nation and equal to or better than ratings for private sector hospitals.   The 2013 ACSI report assessed satisfaction among Veterans who have recently been patients of VA’s Veterans Health Administration (VHA) inpatient and outpatient services.   ACSI is the nation’s only cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction, providing benchmarking between the public and private sectors.

In 2013, the overall ACSI satisfaction index for VA was 84 for inpatient care and 82 for outpatient care, which compares favorably with the U.S. hospital industry (scores of 80 and 83, respectively).   Since 2004, the ACSI survey has consistently shown that Veterans give VA hospitals and clinics a higher customer satisfaction score, on average, than patients give private sector hospitals. These overall scores are based on specific feedback on customer expectations, perceived value and quality, responsiveness to customer complaints, and customer loyalty.  One signature finding for 2013 is the continuing high degree of loyalty to VA among Veterans, with a score of 93 percent favorable.  This score has remained high (above 90 percent) for the past ten years.

“Every day, our dedicated VA employees, many of whom are Veterans themselves, strive to provide millions of Veterans with the excellent care they have earned and deserve,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  “Our Nation’s Veterans deserve the best care, and the ACSI survey results help us better understand how Veterans feel about their overall health care experience at VA. There is always more work to do, and we are focused on continuous improvement to the care we provide.”

Additionally, Veterans strongly endorsed VA health care, with 91 percent offering positive assessments of inpatient care and 92 percent for outpatient care.  When asked if they would use a VA medical center the next time they need inpatient care or outpatient care, Veterans overwhelmingly indicated they would (96 and 95 percent, respectively).

Veterans also responded positively to questions related to customer service for both VA inpatient care (92 percent favorable) and outpatient care (91 percent).   Medical providers and appointment personnel were considered highly courteous with scores of 92 and 91, respectively.   Additionally, VA medical providers ranked high in professionalism (90 percent positive).

“VA’s strategy of providing a personalized, proactive, patient-driven approach to health care is positively impacting Veterans’ experiences at our 1700 sites of care nationwide,” said Dr. Robert A. Petzel, VA’s Under Secretary for Health.  “We are transitioning to a health service focused on Veterans’ personal health care goals, and this is reflected in the ACSI score.”

With over eight million Veterans enrolled, VA operates the largest integrated health care delivery system in the United States.  Our mission is to honor America’s Veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well-being.   VA provides a broad range of primary care, specialized care, and related medical and social support services.  VA provided 89.7 million outpatient visits last fiscal year. VA has 236,000 health care appointments per day.

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  1. As a physician who has spent most of my career (over 25 years) in the private sector and just joined the VA about 3/4 of a year ago, I have been favorably impressed with the dedication, expertise, and genuine caring about patients I have witnessed here. Since my days of training, I have seen all these factors much improved in the VA, while the private sector has been squeezed tighter and tighter being asked to rush or herd more patients through faster and faster with less time to attend to their real and felt needs. At the same time, the financial crisis in this country over the last 10 years as caused most of the charity organizations who provided resources to those whose insurance did not cover them have dried up. This is because the well-meaning would have been donors are struggling ever more to support their own families and no longer have enough left over, coupled with the ever increasing cost of health insurance premiums for working families. This means that as a doctor, I could no longer be sure that all my patients could equally avail themselves of needed services. I longed for the good old days and have found them in the VA. The VA takes care of its own, no matter their resources. It provides for socially struggling people, some of whom, due to no fault of their own, can be very high maintenance. I think the VA is getting unfair bad press now, and it would be a tragedy to lose this sometimes unpolished gem in favor of expensive glitz without heart. For example, the working people with low paying jobs who only have Medicare, cannot afford the high 20% copays on expensive chemotherapy drugs. The VA provides them without these copays and is an excellent safety net for these hardworking people who put their lives on the line for us long ago. I think it should be saved and applauded.

  2. There are a few key facts about these so-called unbiased surveys VA has done to show that veterans just love what VA does for them in healthcare.
    First, these VA satisfaction surveys are based on direct mail solicitations with an average response rate of about 5-7% at the very best. That means that 93%+ of all veterans who were sent the survey actually responded. Funny thing happened on my way to 2014: The VA has never sent me any of these new surveys since my last one that blasted poor VA care in 2009. I would urge everyone to read the parts of the these surveys — the actual report and not take VA’s press releases — and look for the section titled, “Empirical Methodology.” There you will see that the facts stated above are quite true. The VA satisfaction percentages are based on survey samplings just like other opinion polls. But other serious exceptions prevail since they are more telling of the truth.

    1. VA DEATHCARE ONE BIG BIG FEDERAL RICO CRIME RACKET RUN BY AFGE UNION CONTRACTS FROM UNION HELL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Second, many veterans who are younger and just out of the service have never had the good fortune to experience private sector healthcare. The same actually applies to just as many older veterans who have had nothing but VA to rely for healthcare since their discharge or disability rating. The point here is that since such veterans have never experienced great private healthcare, such persons have no valid basis by which to make comparisons on the better value of the two. That is simple deductive logic.
    Third, as Ben Krause points out here in this post, VA does NOT survey all those veterans who are outside the VA-VHA healthcare group to see WHY they do not use VA for their healthcare services — since its as great as they claim?
    The fact is that there are over 26 million veterans alive — and only about 6 million use the VA for healthcare. Ask yourself why, IF VA healthcare is so great, that over 80% of all veterans choose not to use it?

  4. No surprise here, really. Obama’s choice to lead the VA, Suckup Shinseki, refuses to defend military veterans from the recent insane editorial at the New York Times that deliberately attacked military veterans as prone to be domestic terrorists. It is disgusting that our war heroes are being demonized by Obama and his liberal demagogues. This also should leave a bad taste in every military veteran’s mouth!


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