New robotic technology at the Michael E. DeBakey VAMCr in Houston is ensuring Veterans undergoing knee replacement surgeries experience less pain and recover faster. A new study found that surgery at VAMCs is as good or better in most cases than community hospitals in their area. Photo from a Michael E. DeBakey VAMC press release.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT—Under the MISSION Act, veterans who meet certain criteria can opt to receive medical care—including surgery—from community providers instead of the VA. Based on the results of a new study, they might not want to, however.

A new study determined that VA hospitals generally outperform or match neighboring non-VA hospitals in surgical quality and overall patient safety satisfaction. Results were published in the Journal of Surgical Research.

“The prospect of having surgery can be stressful,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “For veterans, who often have choices in where they receive care, it is in their best interest to make fully informed healthcare decisions. This study provides valuable information when faced with such an important choice.”

To reach their conclusions, researchers at the White River Junction VA Medical Center in Vermont and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire identified VA medical centers with at least one non-VA hospital within 25 miles in three U.S. regions: West-Southwest, New England and Deep South.

Background information in the report noted that the Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act established a community care program allowing veterans to receive care outside VAMCs. The study sought to compare patient safety and satisfaction indicators from VAMCs and surrounding non-VAMCs (non-VAs).

To do that, researchers identified VAMCs with at least one non-VA acute care hospital within 25 miles in three geographic regions—West/Southwest, New England and Deep South—excluding children’s, specialty and critical access hospitals. A sample of 34 VA facilities and 319 neighboring non-VA hospitals was included and compared, using benchmarks created by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Then, using publicly available Hospital Compare data, the group analyzed VAMC and surrounding non-VA performance in postsurgical patient safety indicator (PSI) events and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems patient satisfaction scores and hospital star ratings.

Continue Reading this Article: Patient Satisfaction Ratings