Report Summary

Title: Healthcare Inspection – Follow-Up of Scheduling, Staffing, and Quality of Care Concerns at the Alaska VA Healthcare System, Anchorage, Alaska
Report Number: 15-05249-162 Download
Issue Date: 3/9/2017
City/State: Anchorage, AK
VA Office: Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
Report Author: Office of Healthcare Inspections
Report Type: Healthcare Inspections
Healthcare Inspection Report
Release Type: Unrestricted

OIG conducted a healthcare inspection at the request of Senator Lisa Murkowski to follow up on recommendations made in a previous report, Scheduling, Staffing, and Quality of Care Concerns at the Alaska VA Healthcare System Anchorage, Alaska, (Report No. 14-04077-405, July 7, 2015). We evaluated selected aspects of the progress the Alaska VA Healthcare System (system) made in implementing the action plans and reviewed access to care data for patients at all system community based outpatient clinics (CBOCs). We found that a permanent provider had been in place at the Mat-Su VA CBOC since September 2014 and system leaders had developed a recruitment and retention plan. Improvements were made to contingency plans for ensuring continuity of and access to appropriate primary care during periods of inadequate resources, extended staff absences, staff turnover, understaffing, and nature-related events. Training requirements regarding care coordination were implemented in all CBOCs and primary care settings. We determined overall access to care throughout the system met Veterans Health Administration (VHA) performance measure targets based on data maintained by VHA and provider recommendations for new and established primary care patients. The system made improvements to the peer review process and completed planned actions for the patient cases identified in the 2015 report. We found that managers continued to monitor provider evaluations and implement enhancements needed for committee reporting. System leaders continued to implement actions to improve culture and morale throughout the system. Based on actions already implemented, recommendations 3 and 6 from the 2015 report are considered closed. The remaining seven recommendations will remain open for continued monitoring of actions by OIG Follow-Up Staff. We made no new recommendations. OIG Update: We received updated information in May 2016 and determined the planned actions have been completed for the remaining seven recommendations and consider all nine original recommendations closed.