Last week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) unveiled an online effort to increase transparency for veterans seeking medical care, drawing the applause of members of the Florida congressional delegation.
The VA’s new Access and Quality Tool will offer veterans more information on patient wait times and quality of care of VA facilities compared to local hospitals.
“Veterans must have access to information that is clear and understandable to make informed decisions about their health care,” said VA Sec. David Shulkin. “No other health-care system in the country releases this type of information on wait times. This allows Veterans to see how VA is performing.”
“This tool is another example of VA leading the way,” said Acting Under Secretary for Health Poonam Alaigh. “No one in the private sector publishes data this way. This tool will instill a spirit of competition and encourage our medical facilities to proactively address access and quality issues while empowering veterans to make choices according to what works best for them and their families.”
The new online tool garnered cheers from congressmen from Florida including U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla.
“My district is home to one of the largest veterans populations in the country and despite some improvements we’ve been able to make over the past few years, veterans are still experiencing problems with getting timely access to quality care, especially in rural areas,” Rooney said on Thursday. “It’s no secret that the VA has suffered from a widespread and systemic lack of accountability throughout the entire organization. Veterans across the nation are justifiably tired of inexcusable wait times, and their lack of trust in the government to provide the basic services we promised in exchange for their service is unacceptable. This program is evidence of a new era of transparency and accountability at the VA under Secretary Shulkin’s leadership, and validates his commitment to finally reforming how things are done across the VA to ensure our nation’s veterans receive the highest quality of care.”
From his seat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., insisted he was “proud of the work we’ve done” and called the new online portal a step in the right direction.
“I applaud the VA for increasing its transparency by making patient wait times and care data available online,” Rutherford noted.
READ MORE FROM SUNSHINE STATE NEWS