VA as a Model?

In an interim report, the Congressional Budget Office does say that other service systems, most likely federal, might benefit from the approaches VA has taken in performance measurement and health information technology. CBO notes that VA over recent years has improved its quality of care and customer satisfaction ratings despite substantially increasing its patient workload, which now runs to more than five million annually. However, CBO cautions that that two key measures used by VA focus on “process measures of quality rather than [health] outcome measures,” which it deems “important” though harder to track. And, CBO notes that the VA’s own IG found the agency’s measurement of waiting times suspect. Just last year, the IG faulted VA for not following “established procedures” so that “data on waiting times could not be relied upon.” CBO plans to make its final report later this year, delving more comprehensively into VA’s quality-based incentive system, which some credit for making VA an “industry leader in health care quality.”