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I wanted to share some big news coming out of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Today, VA took unprecedented steps towards increasing transparency. After working with Veterans and Veterans Service Organizations, VA launched a new online tool that provides Veterans an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand way of accessing patient wait time and quality of care data. Veterans deserve to be able to make informed decisions about their health care. This tool empowers them to do just that.
Here in Pittsburgh, the Access and Quality Tool allows Veterans to see wait times for new and returning patients in primary care, mental health care, audiology, cardiology, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, optometry, and urology. They can also see a guide to same-day services available at each of VAPHS’s seven sites of care and if other Veterans are satisfied with the availability of services at VAPHS.
Currently, the Philadelphia VA Medical Center is the only VA in VISN 4 whose data on quality measures in comparison to private-sector facilities is available. We hope that our measures and comparisons will be added soon.
This tool is the most transparent and easy to understand patient wait time and quality of care data website available. No other health care system in the country publishes this type of data on wait times.
Above all else, this is a welcome sign of a renewed commitment to solve the challenges VA is faced with. This is a new way of thinking and behaving at VA. Secretary Shulkin has made modernization a priority. This is one step of many we can expect from this new VA.
In an interview with USA Today published today, Secretary Shulkin said “the information will empower the public to ask questions — including members of Congress and others outside the VA who can hold it accountable. And it helps veterans and their family members make more informed decisions about where to seek care.”
I strongly urge you to try out the Access and Quality Tool to see how VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (or any other VA facility) measures up!
Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages to learn more about this tool, and stay up-to-date with VA and VAPHS.
Sincerely,Karin McGraw, DirectorVA Pittsburgh Healthcare System