from american prospect:
over the last decade or two, the vha system has become a worldwide leader
in both the adoption and the invention of health-information technology,
and it has leveraged its innovations into quantifiable gains in quality of care.
indeed, the vha's lead in care quality isn't disputed. a new england journal of medicine
study from 2003 compared the vha with fee-for-service medicare on 11 measures of quality. the vha came out "significantly better" on every single one. the annals of internal medicine pitted the vha against an array of managed-care systems to see which offered the best treatment for diabetics. the vha triumphed in all seven of the tested metrics.
the national committee for quality assurance, meanwhile, ranks health plans on 17 different care metrics, from hypertension treatment to adherence to evidence-based treatments.
as phillip longman, the author of best care anywhere
, a book chronicling the vha's remarkable transformation, explains: "winning ncqa's seal of approval is the gold standard in the health-care industry.
and who do you suppose is the highest ranking health care system? johns hopkins? mayo clinic? massachusetts general? nope. in every single category, the veterans health care system outperforms the highest-rated non-vha hospitals."
what makes this such an explosive story is that the vha is a truly socialized medical system.
in fact, the vha is also proving far better than the private sector at controlling costs. as longman explains, "veterans enrolled in [the vha] are, as a group, older, sicker, poorer, and more prone to mental illness, homelessness, and substance abuse than the population as a whole. half of all vha enrollees are over age 65. more than a third smoke. one in five veterans has diabetes, compared with one in 14 u.s. residents in general."
yet the vha's spending per patient in 2004 was $540 less than the national average
the vha's advantages come in part from its development of the health-information software vista, which was created at taxpayer expense and is now distributed for free to any health systems that wish to use it. it's a remarkably adaptive program that helps in virtually every element of care delivery, greatly aiding efforts to analyze symptoms and patient reactions in order to improve diagnoses and treatments, reduce mistaken interventions, and eliminate all sorts of care redundancies.
the system was set up to deal with the sick, so the emphasis is on learning how to best manage diseases rather than avoid the diseased
; and the doctors are salaried, so they have no incentives to either over- or undertreat patients.
moreover, the vha is not only empowered to bargain down drug costs; it also uses formularies (lists of covered drugs), and so is actually empowered to walk away from a pharmaceutical company that won't meet its offer.
read this article with an open mind.....
Apr 23, '07
Quote from morte
after the recent to do at Walter Reed, i am not so sure i want to go there......
Walter Reed is an ARMY hospital not
a VHA hospital.
The Veterans Health Administration The mistreatment and poor conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center were a front-page story recently, and they were rather conclusive in showing the system's inadequacy. But don't be confused: Walter Reed is a military hospital, not a VHA hospital. Poor reporting inaccurately smeared the quietly remarkable reputation of the best medical system in America.
Last edit by HM2VikingRN on Apr 23, '07