On behalf of patients and purchasers of health care, I would like to strongly commend the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for its bold new initiative to publicly report quality, patient satisfaction, and wait times at VA hospitals across the country. Their new website, http://www.accesstocare.va.gov/, is a true breakthrough in providing critical information to our nation’s veterans that can aid them in choosing a facility for their care.
So how does the VA compare? Until now, we didn’t know. We didn't have much data publicly available to begin with, and had virtually nothing to compare VA hospitals with other American hospitals. VA hospitals had been transparent by reporting their own set of measures and making that available to the public for free, but the measures they reported on were not the same ones reported by other hospitals, which meant comparisons were limited.
A dearth of information on all hospitals is why employers and other purchasers of health care formed The Leapfrog Group to ask hospitals to report on data they can't get anywhere else. The Leapfrog Hospital Survey makes it free for hospitals to publicly report their quality and safety and free for consumers to access information about hospitals in their community. We also publish the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a letter grade rating for thousands of hospitals representing how well they protect patients from harm and error in the hospital.
We are extending an invitation to all VA hospitals to further their bold commitment to transparency by participating in the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which opened on April 1. We look forward to helping these hospitals submit their data and working with administration officials to secure engagement from VA hospitals across the country. Our nation's veterans, and all U.S. citizens, deserve nothing less than full transparency from the facilities that they rely on for care.