Veterans Affairs Stops Sending Performance Data to National Health Care

The country’s largest medical site, The Department of Veteran Affairs, has stopped sending data regarding various factors that determine the quality of their services to the national healthcare site. The hospital compare website, run by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, provides users with the ability to make informed medical choices along with choosing where to get health care. In 2014, a law was passed requiring the VA and other medical service providers to share more information and stats about their nationwide facilities. Despite this law, the VA has failed to send data since the summer and have also taken down their own site since February.

The VA serves more than 9 million users in 1200 facilities across the country. As such, after the VA scandal, they were required to share information about deaths, readmissions and other factors that would help users compare with private and public hospitals in the country. Joe Francis, a prominent member of the Veterans Health Administration, clarified that the VA had stopped sending data as of July 1 and will continue to do so until they can come up with a new deal with the Department of  Health and Human Services.

The VA has 168 medical centers in the country and began sharing data about customer satisfaction in 2008. When data sharing became more comprehensive in 2011, former Secretary Eric Shinseki, emphasized that the VA was committed to being “open and accountable” to the veterans and their families.

After the wait-time scandal in 2014, where 40 veterans died while waiting for care, Congress passed the Choice Act. The Act held the VA more accountable for veterans’ death and made it compulsory for them to pay for a veterans’ care if they could not attend to the vet themselves. There was also a provision that stated that the VA and HHS had 6 months to make a deal about data reporting but that deadline came in February 2015 and action is yet to be taken.

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