Recently, USA Today published a story detailing secret VA hospital quality ratings. The article was based on internal Department of Veterans Affairs’ documents that USA Today obtained. These ratings give the public access to an unfiltered view of where VA hospitals rank in quality, including which facilities Veterans Affairs considers the worst and best VA hospitals in the country.
How Does the VA Hospital Rating System Work?
Per the USA Today report, for years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has kept internal ratings of each of its facilities. The VA hospitals are given a star rating that reflects the quality of service and care they provide to patients, including:
- Wait times
- Death rates
- Incidents involving avoidable complications
- Infection rates
According to the documents that USA Today was able to obtain, the lowest-rated VA hospitals in the nation are in Tennessee and Texas. The most recent ratings, which were handed out June 30 of last year, show that VA facilities in Nashville, Dallas, Memphis, El Paso and Murfreesboro all received one star out of five.
While VA hospitals in Texas and Tennessee received low marks, the documents showed that the best VA hospitals in the country are in the Northeast and upper Midwest, including facilities in New York, South Dakota, Massachusetts and Minnesota. Many of the VA hospitals in those regions were rated five out of five stars.
Our nation’s veterans deserve access to the highest quality medical care. With these ratings coming to light, maybe the lower rated VA hospitals will be driven to improve their standards. For those injured or the families of those killed due to hospital errors, one way to fight back and help combat the problem is to hold those responsible accountable through a medical malpractice lawsuit against the facility or providers of care. These types of lawsuits which may be against the federal government can provide victims and their families with the financial help they need to cover hospital bills, corrective surgeries, rehabilitation expenses and funeral costs.