VA drops its star ratings system for hospitals

The Department of Veterans Affairs will no longer issue star ratings for its 146 medical centers.

VA officials announced last month that individual VA hospitals will instead post measures such as wait times, patient satisfaction ratings, medical services and quality assessments on their individual websites.

The change, VA leaders said, will allow veterans to compare VA facilities with nearby public and private medical centers.

“Star ratings were developed as an internal tool meant to compare one VA facility to another,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. “These ratings do not provide insight as to how our hospitals stack up against nearby non-VA facilities and are therefore of little value in helping veterans make informed health care decisions.”

VA leaders say the move to abandon the system, first made public in a series of articles in USA Today, will improve transparency.

The ratings were often “misinterpreted,” the release stated, as they compare VA facilities by ranking them across the department’s health care system, rather than by “geography, population characteristics or unique care offerings” of neighboring non-VA facilities.

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Author: Dian Welle