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Vets' Group Rips VA Over Leaked Docs Listing Below-Average Facilities

Image: Vets' Group Rips VA Over Leaked Docs Listing Below-Average Facilities

(AP)

By    |   Thursday, 08 Dec 2016 06:03 PM

A veterans group slammed the Department of Veterans Affairs over leaked internal documents showing dozens of medical facilities performing at below-average levels.

Concerned Veterans for America, which has been critical of the VA, released a statement Thursday condemning the secret system that used a star system to rate performance at health facilities around the nation, Stars and Stripes reported.

Executive Director Mark Lucas said the system underscores continuing problems in the organization and that the VA is not committed to transparency.

"By keeping this rating system secret, the VA was admitting that preserving the illusion of competency matters more to them than actually serving veterans — and the VA fails at both," Lucas said, Stars and Stripes reported.

"The lengths to which the VA will go to hide its own bad performance should disturb veterans and American taxpayers alike."

The outcry follows USA Today's publication on Wednesday of the internal performance scoring.

According to USA Today, the VA uses a system that rates each of its medical centers on a scale of one to five, with one being the worst – and that roughly 45 facilities performed at an above-average rating while 40 were below average.

Alarmingly, some medical centers haven't improved despite scandals and scrutiny from Congress.

For example, the Phoenix, Az., VA still sits get a one-star rating despite a 2014 scandal revealing veterans died while waiting for care and that staff manipulated wait-time data there and at other VA hospitals across the country.

VA Undersecretary for Health David Shulkin told USA Today the ratings system is primarily for internal use and that it shouldn't be used by the public as a ranking tool.

He told USA Today 120 facilities have shown improvement since he assumed his position in July 2015, and that all one-star facilities have shown some improvement, except for the VA medical center in Detroit.

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A veterans group slammed the Department of Veterans Affairs over leaked internal documents showing dozens of medical facilities performing at below-average levels.
veterans, group, slams, VA, leaked, documents
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2016-03-08
Thursday, 08 Dec 2016 06:03 PM
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