Nation’s Worst Facilities Remain Unchanged in 2017 VA Hospital Ratings

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Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) December 21, 2017 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a list of hospital rankings for 2017. The majority of the country’s worst-rated facilities from last year showed no improvement in the latest internal rankings. The agency said overall 64 percent of hospitals improved from their 2016 baseline scores.

Fourteen medical facilities that scored one out of five stars in this year’s report earned the same low quality ratings in 2016. The Phoenix VA hospital was listed among the worst-ranked. The hospital was at the center of a 2014 nationwide wait times scandal in which veterans died waiting for medical appointments.

“The VA’s release of the hospital rankings is in line with the agency’s recent promises to maintain a commitment to transparency and accountability,” commented Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “However, it raises questions as to why the one-star facilities are not improving and what needs to be done in order to ensure all veterans receive quality health care and treatment in a timely manner.”

Also among the veterans hospitals that received two consecutive years of one-star ratings were two facilities in California, two in Texas and three in Tennessee. Threats to patient safety have skyrocketed at the Tennessee facility in recent years.

Only two VA medical centers on the list managed to improve their one-star scores. Hospitals in Detroit, Michigan and Fayetteville, North Carolina were awarded two stars each this year.

The VA evaluates its 146 medical facilities on a regular basis. They are rated using a scale of one to five stars, with five being the best. Scores are based on various clinical quality factors such as wait times, efficiency, access to health care, number of avoidable complications, infection, death rates and staffing turnover. One-star medical centers can be upgraded to two stars based on quality of care.

The VA press secretary said Secretary David Shulkin has made it a priority to enhance transparency as part of his efforts to improve the department. He added, “That’s why we’re posting these important end-of-year ratings.”

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