Improved Quality of Care for Veterans at the VA
In the United States today there are millions of American veterans of past military conflict and work related disabilities that rely on the Veterans Health Care Administration system for their medical needs. For many normal Americans the words VHA hospital bring only negative thoughts of dirty hospital rooms and substandard health care by anyone’s standards in medicine. “By the early 1990s, the VHA had a reputation for delivering limited, poor-quality care, which led to health care reforms.”(Oliver, 2007, p. 1) For many Veterans in the United States this was the reality they faced when seeking medical care in a VA Hospital. This inexcusable care of our nations Veteran’s began to change in 1994 when President Bill Clinton appointed Dr. Kenneth W. Kizer to the post of Undersecretary of the Veteran Healthcare Administration.
Today the quality of care for Veterans in the VHA hospitals is better than ever thanks to years of reforms and changes in attitudes towards Veterans. In the past VHA Hospitals were underfunded and overcrowded in the years of the Vietnam War and the quality of care was dismal. Hospital care for returning Vietnam Veterans was described by author Ron Kovic as “worse than on the battlefield.”(Kovic, 1976) This description stands in stark contrast to the VHA system today. In a recent article one author notes that “a 2003 report by the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that compared Veterans health facilities on 11 measures of quality with fee-for-service Medicare. On all 11 measures, the quality of care in Veterans facilities proved to be "significantly better." (Longman, 2005, p. 2) This huge increase in quality of care and overall performance came just in the nick of time for America and Veteran’s needing medical services.
With the attacks of September 11, 2001 war returned to the United States in a way unseen since the days of the Vietnam conflict. The United States invaded the...