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Don’t privatize veterans hospitals


Healthcare journalist Suzanne Gordon writes about why  veterans and other citizens should push back against Republican/Koch Brothers ideas of privatizing veterans hospitals. She says:

“An independent assessment of the VHA conducted by MITRE Corporation, the Rand Corporation, and others and released last year highlighted problems with top-heavy management, cumbersome hiring processes, and delays in access to care in some regions.

“On the whole, however, the assessment also reported that the VHA’s 288,000 employees, including 20,000 physicians, are able to deliver high-quality care to the more than 6 million veterans who receive its services. ‘VA wait times,’ RAND reported, ‘do not seem to be substantially worse than non-VA waits.’ VA patients get care that is often higher quality than that in the private sector — with performance variation ‘lower than that observed in private sector health plans.’ A study published recently in JAMA reported that men with heart failure, heart attacks, or pneumonia were less likely to die if treated at a VHA hospital rather than non-VHA hospital.

“These successes are because the VHA {Veterans Health Administration} has developed into the only nationwide fully integrated health care system in the United States. As such, it provides a model for other systems — one policy makers should be trying to learn from, not dismantle,” Ms. Gordon said.

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