VA initiates independent, nationwide review of its medical facilities

The Department of Veterans Affairs has initiated an independent, nationwide review of all scheduling practices at its medical facilities.

The Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs, will conduct an independent review of scheduling and access practices of every Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facility beginning this fall, according to Robert A. McDonald, secretary of veterans affairs.

“The VA is committed to instilling integrity into our scheduling practices to deliver the timely care that veterans deserve,” McDonald stated in a press release. “It is important that our scheduling practices be reviewed by a respected, independent source to help restore trust in our system, and I am grateful to the Joint Commission for taking on this critical task.”

McDonald also announced the following actions planned to accelerate care for veterans:

  • The VA will conduct a holistic review with the goal of creating actionable initiatives to improve its ethical environment.
  • All VA medical center directors will be required to notify the VA under secretary for health if access or quality-of-care standards are not being met.
  • All senior leader performance plans in the VA will be reviewed in line with the VA’s strategic plan and with veterans in mind.
  • VA employee performance goals will be reviewed to ensure a focus on timely and quality care.
  • Medical center directors will be required to ensure all VA staff with scheduling privileges complete a mandatory scheduler training.

McDonald directed all VA health care and benefits facilities to hold town hall events by the end of September to improve communication with, and hear directly from, veterans.

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