3 of the Worst VA Medical Centers in 2018
The rankings are in and once again there are major discrepancies between VA healthcare facilities across the country in terms of quality of care. While many VA medical centers deserve praise for how they maintain high quality care for veterans, some of the worst VA medical centers in 2018 are no strangers to being at the bottom of the rankings. VA health centers in Memphis, El Paso and Atlanta have been near the bottom of the quality rankings for some time, with few signs that the the facilities will improve any time soon. Here’s a quick look at the three worst VA hospitals 2018.
The Worst VA Hospitals 2018
1. Memphis VA Medical Center
Veterans Action Network previously reported on widespread issues at the Memphis VA Medical Center, and unfortunately the facility ranks near the very bottom in this year’s VA quality rankings. The Memphis VA Medical Center has been called a “house of horrors” due to botched surgeries, long wait times and deplorable sanitary conditions. Therefore, it’s also no surprise that Memphis ranks in the bottom 10% of U.S. cities for Veterans to live and once again was given a 1-star rating.
2. VA Hospital in El Paso, Texas
The VA hospital in El Paso once again received a 1-star rating in this year’s quality rankings. In fact, the El Paso medical center has actually been classified as a “high-risk” facility. The hospital’s low ratings in access to mental healthcare for veterans. That, along with long wait times, has put El Paso back on the list of the worst VA medical centers in 2018.
Retired Col. Michael Amaral, director of the El Paso facility, says that he is committed to improving quality at the facility. “My primary focus is our patients’ ability to get care when they need it, that they get it in a timely manner and when they are here they are treated nicely,” Amaral said.
So far, however, the El Paso VA has not lived up to those standards.
3. VA Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia
The VA hospital in Atlanta recently fell from its 3-star ranking all the way down to 1-star in this year’s VA hospital rankings. That is one of the most dramatic falls in quality of any VA medical center in the United States this year, and some are blaming the rating on officials unwillingness to commit to reform.
US Marine veteran Bob Teets, who sits on the advisory board of the Atlanta VA Medical Center, believes that many of the physicians at the facility are more concerned with maintaining their reputations than alerting their superiors to problems in the system. “I don’t think the various department heads, the chiefs of department, are kind of getting it,” he explained. “They have a tendency not to think of things as urgently needing repair.”
Perhaps this year’s 1-star ranking will help change the culture at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, which now ranks in the bottom 10% in the nation.
Best VA Medical Centers in 2018
Fortunately, there are some VA facilities that have shown incredible improvement in terms of quality and timely access to care. In total, thirty-eight VA medical centers improved their star rating between 2017-2018. Here are a few of the best VA medical centers in 2018 based on the VA’s annual quality rankings report.
In 2017, the VA medical center in Hot Springs, South Dakota received a dismal 2-star quality ranking. In just one year, the Hot Springs VA improved to 5-stars, making it the most dramatically improved facility in this year’s rankings.
The Asheville, North Carolina VA medical center has been widely regarded as one of the very best VA healthcare facilities in the United States. This year, the Asheville VA Medical Center holds the number two ranking of all VA health centers.
Veterans Action Network is dedicated to continuing the public dialogue on the need for massive VA reform. We can never repay the debt we owe to America’s Veterans. The very least we can do is demand that the government fulfills its obligation to ensure the well-being of Veterans when they return home.