The VA has released quality of care ratings for its 146 medical centers, data which had been kept secret until last week for fear of causing veterans "unwarranted distress."
Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald had fought against the release of the information, saying that release of the ratings could cause "unwarranted distress" to veterans and discourage them from getting treatment, reported USA Today.
For years the VA has been ranking its medical centers on a scale of one to five, with five stars being the best and one star indicating a hospital needing the most help, but withheld the ranking until USA Today obtained them last month.
The VA announced in an internal memo last week that it was now posting updated ratings on its website, including indicators of whether hospitals were improving.
The Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics which received one star has been in flux, hiring a new director and chief of staff over the past 14 months, reported the Mail Tribune.
The Memphis VA Medical Center was also rated one star, but pointed to a leadership change with its second interim director since February, reported the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
The center ousted its former director after the facility which serves 67,000 veterans in four states was cited for under performance.
Centers receiving five-point ratings included the Boise VA Medical Center in Idaho, The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, the VA Boston Healthcare System, the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, the Aleda E. Lutz Medical Center in Saginaw, Michigan, and the Minneapolis VA Healthcare System.
Republican Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama had been trying for more than a year to get the VA to make its quality data public and told USA Today she is glad it has finally happened.
"This not only helps veterans know basic information about their health care options, it allows stakeholders in the community and members of Congress to demand better of the VA when improvement is needed," said Roby.
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