View Full Version : VA Health System is 'Best in the Nation,' Says IOM

11-03-02, 11:32 AM
WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
was praised yesterday in an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report for its
initiatives to improve the quality of health care.

"VA is a national leader in developing quality measurements to provide the
best health care for our veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Anthony J. Principi. "Both health care and veteran satisfaction have
improved as a result of our quality improvements."

The IOM report, entitled Leadership by Example, lauded VA's use of
performance measures to improve quality in clinical disciplines and in
ambulatory, hospital and long-term care.

"VA's integrated health care information system, including its framework for
using performance measures to improve quality, is considered one of the best
in the nation," according to the IOM.

The IOM report also cited VA's National Surgical Quality Improvement Program
(NSQIP), which uses performance measurements, reports, self-assessment tools,
site visits and best practices. It develops risk-adjusted information on
surgical outcomes in the VA's medical centers. From 1991, when NSQIP data
were first collected, to 2000, the impact on the outcomes of major surgeries
was dramatic: 30-day post-operative deaths decreased by 27 percent.

VA's electronic medical record system and Bar Code Medication Administration
(BCMA) program are essential tools for improving health care quality and
patient safety. Earlier this year, the BCMA program won the 2002 Pinnacle
Award, a top honor by the American Pharmaceutical Association Foundation.

Also this year, VA's National Center for Patient Safety (NCPS) received the
John E. Eisenberg Award in Patient Safety for System Innovation. The
Eisenberg awards are given by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of
Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the National Forum for Healthcare
Quality and Reporting (NQF).

VA's patient safety program relies on a method that combines voluntary and
mandatory reporting systems, root cause analysis, and corrective actions to
improve patient safety. VA's programs have been adopted in Australia, Japan
and Denmark, among others.

To help maintain its position at the leading edge of performance measurement
and quality improvement, VA recently established a new leadership position in
its health care system, appointing Dr. Frances M. Murphy as the deputy under
secretary for health policy coordination. Murphy is responsible for
coordinating a wide range of health care issues with the Department of Health
and Human Services, including health care quality, patient safety,
occupational health and safety, and information technology.

"The U.S. can no longer practice 20th century medicine. Government needs to
lead the metamorphosis to 21st century patient-centered quality health care
through better use of health information technology," said Murphy.
"Consistent, publicly reported quality measurement is essential to improve
health care delivery and patient satisfaction. The technology is readily
available, inexpensive and reliable."

VA's Quality Program ensures system-wide delivery of health care based on the
best scientific evidence for clinical practice and explicit accountability of
management and clinicians as a strategy for fulfilling VA's mission to be the
health care provider of choice for America's veterans.

VA's performance measurements show VA health care is the current benchmark in
quality for numerous areas when compared with other health care systems.

The IOM report analyzed quality enhancement processes in six government
programs -- the VA, Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance
Program, the Department of Defense TRICARE and TRICARE for Life programs, and
the Indian Health Services program.

Information about the IOM report can be obtained at http://www.iom.edu/.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


10/31/2002 10:20 EST



11-18-02, 10:47 PM


11-18-02, 10:54 PM
from a Senate committee....