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Published:January 12th, 2007 05:11 EST
VA Health Care System Outscores Private Sector Again

VA Health Care System Outscores Private Sector Again

By SOP newswire

WASHINGTON -- For the seventh straight year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has received significantly higher marks than the private health care industry on a leading independent survey of customer satisfaction. 

“Our patients are the best judges of our health care system, and for the seventh consecutive year, VA has received high marks from its customers in this independent study,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson.  “This study reaffirms VA’s success in providing world-class health care to our nation’s veterans.”

The annual results from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) also showed that overall satisfaction of patients for both inpatient and outpatient services increased last year at VA medical facilities. 

The new ACSI survey results showed that the VA scored 84 percent in customer satisfaction for inpatient services, up one point from the 2005 rating.  The rating of 82 percent for outpatient care was two points higher than last year’s mark.  VA significantly outscored the private sector in both categories, by 10 points for inpatient care, and eight points for outpatient care. 

Inpatient and outpatient scores on the 100-point scale also were significantly higher than the average of 71 percent for inpatient and 73 percent for outpatient services for other federal health care systems.  

VA also scored 94 percent for “veterans loyalty” and 91 percent for customer service, each a one-point increase over those figures for 2005.

“It is very gratifying to know that our veteran patients think so highly of our care,” said Dr. Michael J. Kussman, Acting Under Secretary for Health.  “Our goal is to provide veterans with the best possible health care.  And we’re doing just that.” 

The 2006 survey included 260 inpatients discharged in September and 260 outpatients who received care in September.  The report was produced by the National Quality Research Center at the University of Michigan Business School and the Federal Consulting Group.

The ACSI survey is the latest recognition of VA’s high-quality care.  Earlier this year, VA won the prestigious “Innovations in American Government” Award from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government for its advanced electronic health records system and performance measurement system.