Nationwide patient survey shows VA hospitals outperform non-VA hospitals

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WASHINGTON — According to Medicare’s latest nationwide survey of patients, VA hospitals outperformed non-VA hospitals on all 10 core patient satisfaction metrics — including overall hospital rating, communication with doctors, communication about medication, willingness to recommend the hospital, and more.

As a part of the survey, Medicare awards star ratings from one star to five stars, with “more stars representing better quality care.” Based on patient surveys between July 2021 and June 2022, 72% of VA hospitals received four or five stars for Overall hospital rating compared to 48% of reporting non-VA hospitals. Additionally, VA hospitals received a higher percentage of four or five star ratings than non-VA hospitals for Communication with doctors (87% vs. 48%), Communication with nurses (59% vs. 35%), Responsiveness of hospital staff (63% vs. 34%), Communication about medicines (80% vs. 38%), Cleanliness of the hospital environment (69% vs. 52%), Quietness of the hospital environment (49% vs. 38%), Discharge information (65% vs. 55%), Care transition (76% vs. 35%), and Willingness to recommend the hospital (76% vs. 52%). The results are drawn from Medicare’s Care Compare website.

These findings align with a recent systematic review of more than 40 peer-reviewed studies, which found that VA health care is consistently as good as — or better than — non-VA health care.

“At VA, Veterans are the ultimate judges of our successes or failures — so we’re very proud to be this highly rated in a survey of Veterans,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “Our goal at VA is to deliver world-class care to every Veteran, every time, and we will continue to invest in VA health care and the patient experience until we make that goal a reality.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services update the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Star Ratings each quarter. The survey is administered to a random sample of patients across the country. The survey asks discharged patients 29 questions about their recent hospital stay, including 19 core questions about critical aspects of patients’ hospital experiences. The same questions are asked on VA and community hospital surveys to evaluate the patient experience. More information on methodology can be found here.

VA also surveys Veterans in order to understand and improve the Veteran experience with VA. The VA Trust Report for the second quarter of fiscal year 2023 shows that nearly 90% of Veterans who get their care from VA trust VA for their care (based on 560,000 surveys). Additionally, more than 79% of Veterans trust VA overall, reflecting a 1.9% increase from the last quarter and a 24% increase since 2016.

Visit access to care to compare VA hospital data to other medical centers in the community. View VA’s trust report and other customer experience data for more details.

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