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Report shows Phoenix VA quality of service has improved

PHOENIX — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released a report that showed improvement in quality of service within the Phoenix VA Health Care System.

The data showed that 11 of 15 VA medical centers considered “high risk,” including the Phoenix center, had improved since last year.

“What we can tell you is there are definite improvements in access to care,” Dr. Maureen McCarthy, Phoenix VA chief of staff, told KTAR News 92.3 FM Tuesday.

The Phoenix VA Health Care System is now ranked 19th nationally for a combination of performance measures including tobacco cessation and diabetes and hypertension management.

The Phoenix VA outscored local private sector markets in the majority of patient safety indicators and mortality and outpatient performance measures, according to the report.

“Veterans are voting with their feet,” McCarthy said. “We are serving over 93,000 veterans and have provided over one million appointments for veterans in this last year, the year before and the year before that.”

Phoenix also lowered its standardized mortality rate from 0.934 to 0.760, with the lower the score the better. The VA considers a score below 1 to be “better than expected.”

Call center speed to answer and abandonment rates improved, as did length of stay and hospital readmission rate.

These quarterly reports have been released since 2015 and score 25 quality metrics for 146 VA medical centers.

McCarthy said she is proud of her staff, and she supports the VA in its commitment to transparency.

“We’re not 100 percent yet, but the nice story is that we’ve really turned the corner and started to improve in some very significant areas that translate into very good patient care,” she said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report. 

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