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: https://www.va.gov/health/docs/VA2013InpatientACSI.pdf
ACSI – VHA Outpatient Survey: https://www.va.gov/health/docs/VA2013OutpatientACSI.pdf
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.