Tucson VA hospital gets low ranking from federal government

Tucson VA hospital gets low ranking from federal government
Tucson VA

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Ratings recently out from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs show that the Tucson VA has the lowest possible rating for its hospital’s quality of care, with a one-star rating.

The ratings cover two areas, relative performance compared with other VA medical centers and improvement compared to each VA’s performance from the past year. The ratings are then used to help each VA with improvements, according the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Tucson VA is one of nine hospitals on the list of 146 VA hospitals to receive one star out of a possible five.

In response to that the Tucson VA shared a statement with Tucson News Now that says in part, “Remembering that quality is far more than a star rating, the SAIL report is one of many tools we use to help guide our health-care system to improve the quality of services we provide to our Veterans.”

The Tucson VA's response to receiving a one-star rating in the VA's Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning ratings. (Source: KOLD News 13)
The Tucson VA's response to receiving a one-star rating in the VA's Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning ratings. (Source: KOLD News 13) (Source: Emily Biehl)

Meanwhile some veterans say that the one-star rating is indicative of problems they deal with often at the VA.

"Everybody I talk to over at the VA says we’re short three staff, we’re short four staff, we’re short two staff. My mental health nurse (practitioner) is filling in for another one that left. She was supposed to be here for a month and I’ve been seeing her for the last six months. So, and don’t get me wrong, I really like the care from her, but that just means she has double the case load to deal with,” veteran and advocate of care for veterans Cliff Wade said.

He went on to say that problems he typically sees at the VA and often hears about are long wait times for appointments and in some cases the length of time it takes to even make an appointment.

On the other hand, Wade has had multiple experiences that he says have been very positive at the Tucson VA, ranging from surgery to doctor visits. He shares that in his experience a part of what helped to make things go smoothly was his behavior and mindset which he advises other veterans to be bear in mind when they go to the Tucson VA.

"You need to understand the system. You need to be patient with them. If you raise your voice at them they’re not going to jump like what you would think that they would. Sit down, work with them. Try to figure out whats the best line of care for you,” Wade said.

Copyright 2018 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.