Access and Quality in VA Healthcare

posted on

New VA tool provides transparency on facility wait times, quality of care

The new Access and Quality Tool from the Department of Veterans Affairs enables veterans to access patient wait times and current quality-of-care data.

In April, the VA unveiled accesstocare.va.gov, a website that allows users to quickly search for clinics or hospitals in their area and view average wait times from the past month based on the type of appointment. Veterans can also see which facilities offer same-day services.

“Veterans must have access to information that is clear and understandable to make informed decisions about their health care,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin. “No other health care system in the country releases this type of information on wait times. This allows veterans to see how VA is performing.”

The website compares quality of care with other VA facilities, as well as private hospitals and clinics that publish their patient satisfaction data—all with just a few clicks of a mouse.

“This tool is another example of VA leading the way,” said acting Undersecretary for Health Dr. Poonam Alaigh. “No one in the private sector publishes data this way. This tool will instill a spirit of competition and encourage our medical facilities to proactively address access and quality issues while empowering veterans to make choices according to what works best for them and their families.

“Having the veteran in the driver’s seat is tremendous for me,” continued Alaigh. “This tool identifies what’s working—and what isn’t—for veterans.”

The VA will continue to make improvements to the website based upon feedback received from veterans directly, as well as veterans service organizations like DAV.

“Accountability and transparency within the VA is one of our largest concerns, and this website is a big step forward in earning back the trust of veterans,” said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine. “We are optimistic about this increased transparency and will continue to collaborate with VA on improving veterans’ access to quality health care.”