Today, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs launched a new Access and Quality Tool to help Veterans make more informed choices when scheduling care. After several tumultuous years, VA is on the right glide path to improve its accountability and transparency amid continued complaints of long wait times for both routine and specialty care, and scandals surrounding VA medical centers like the Phoenix VAMC, made infamous in 2014. This tool puts power back into the hands of veterans to check the VA’s accuracy in its stated wait times.
Access to VA care remains a challenge for our members. Eighty percent of respondents to our most recent member survey are enrolled in VA care and of those, only 1 out of 4 feel that VA clinicians provide timely care. IAVA has recommended in our latest Policy Agenda that the VA leverage new technologies to streamline processes which will enable VA to respond more dynamically to the needs of today’s veterans. IAVA wants to ensure our members are informed, as well as make use of all available tools of the VA in order to best evaluate the VA’s processes and make recommendations for improvement. VA will continue to refine to this tool based on the feedback they receive from the veteran community. IAVA encourages our members to take the VA up on this offer.
The new online tool provides veterans with data related to:
- How long patients are waiting to be seen in their VA facility
- How veterans describe their experiences scheduling primary and specialty care
- Timeliness of appointments for care needed right away
- Information about the quality of healthcare delivered at every medical center compared to local private sector hospitals.
Up until now, the VA has provided access data through not so easy to use spreadsheets. This automated tool not only increases transparency, but more importantly allows the veterans who are on the ground using VA services every day to hold the VA accountable to ensuring timely access to care. IAVA encourages our members to use this tool as a way to hold VA accountable to you.
The Access and Quality Tool can be found here.
Watch this video to learn how the tool can be used.