August 26, 2014, 08:00:00 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 2014
VA Outlines Actions Taken to Improve Access to Care,
Implement Recommendations from the Office of Inspector General
WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) today released the final report of its review of systemic issues with patient scheduling and access issues at the Phoenix VA Health Care System (PVAHCS). VA concurred with the recommendations in the final report and, in many cases, has already implemented action plans and made improvements that respond to the OIG’s recommendations.
“We sincerely apologize to all Veterans who experienced unacceptable delays in receiving care,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “We will continue to listen to Veterans, our VA employees, and Veterans Service Organizations to improve access to quality care in Phoenix and across the country and we will work hard to rebuild trust with Veterans and the American public.
The final report updates the information previously provided by the OIG in its Interim Report and contains final results from the review of the PVAHCS. VA outlined key action plans that expand access to care, improve staffing for primary care, and accountability measures in response to the final OIG report.
In response to recommendations in the May 2014 OIG Interim Report, the following improvements were initiated in Phoenix and across the VA system:
As of August 15, the Veterans Health Administration has reached out to over 266,000 Veterans to get them off wait lists and into clinics.
“Even before the OIG’s interim report, VA had taken actions to address the issue of patient scheduling and access, working in close concert with Veteran Service Organizations,” said Interim Under Secretary for Health Carolyn Clancy. “We’ve initiated development of a more robust process for continuously measuring patient satisfaction at each site, and will expand our patient satisfaction survey capabilities in the coming year, to capture more Veteran experience data through telephone, social media, and on-line means.”
Additional actions include:
On August 8, Secretary McDonald announced in Phoenix that every VA medical center will undergo an independent review of scheduling and access practices beginning this fall by the Joint Commission, the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. On August 5, McDonald directed all VA health care and benefits facilities to hold town-hall events by the end of September to improve communication with, and hear directly from, Veterans nationwide.
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