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Study: VA Hospitals Compare Favorably to Non-VA Centers

Found them as safe, effective as civilian medical centers

WEDNESDAY, July 20, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The quality and safety of health care at U.S. Veterans Affairs facilities is comparable to that in non-VA centers, according to researchers.

Ongoing concerns about the quality of care provided in VA facilities led the investigators to review 69 studies conducted in the past 10 years.

"The results show that, in terms of safety and effectiveness, VA facilities compare favorably with others," said review leader Dr. Courtney Gidengil, of the Rand Corp.

"Rates of surgical complications and availability of services had the least favorable results, but these results were mixed rather than consistently poor," Gidengil noted.

Twenty-two of the 34 studies on safety and 20 of the 24 studies on effectiveness found that VA facilities provided the same, if not better, quality of care as non-VA centers, the researchers said.

Their findings were published online July 15 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Death rates "have declined more quickly in Veteran Affairs health care settings over time than in non-VA settings," Gidengil said in a journal news release.

For preventive, recommended or end-of-life care, VA hospitals provided equally good or better care than non-VA facilities. Medication management was also similar or superior to non-VA facilities, the review found.

For example, outpatient care in areas such as diabetes and screening tests for heart disease and cancer generally rated higher in VA facilities than in non-VA centers, according to the review.

More information

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has information on health issues affecting veterans.

SOURCE: Journal of General Internal Medicine, news release, July 18, 2016

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