VA Care as Good as or Better than Private-Sector Hospitals

Veterans’ satisfaction rates with the care they receive from the Department of Veterans Affairs is equal to or better than ratings for private-sector hospitals, according to an independent survey.

The 2013 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report assessed satisfaction among veterans who received inpatient or outpatient care from the Veterans Health Administration. The ACSI is the nation’s only cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction between the public and private sectors.

Overall, the satisfaction index for VA was 84 for inpatient care and 82 for outpatient care, which compares favorably with the U.S. hospital industry (with scores of 80 and 83, respectively). Since 2004, veterans have consistently given VA hospitals and clinics a higher customer satisfaction score, on average, than patients give private-sector hospitals.  Those scores are based on specific feedback on customer expectations, perceived value and quality, responsiveness to customer complaints and customer loyalty.

“Some are having a terrible time obtaining timely access to VA health care, but those veterans receiving care in the system are finding that it is among the best in the nation. DAV continues to support efforts to maintain high standards and improve access to health care for our nation’s heroes,” said Washington Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine. “Veterans gave nothing less than the best for our nation and deserve the highest quality care for their service and sacrifices.”

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 percent 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 favorable). 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).

With more than 8 million veterans enrolled, the VA operates the largest integrated health care delivery system in the United States and 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.

“This study confirms what many of us already knew—that, by and large, VA does a good job taking care of veterans,” said National Adjutant Marc Burgess. “Unfortunately, the system is overburdened and under funded. We’ll continue to work toward solutions that address access issues and ensure that patient outcomes are the driving force behind care management at VA.”

 

The ACSI VHA Inpatient Survey can be found at www.va.gov/health/docs/VA2013InpatientACSI.pdf. The ACSI VHA Outpatient Survey can be found at www.va.gov/health/docs/VA2013OutpatientACSI.pdf.