American Legion Report Claims “Drastic Improvement” in Vets’ Satisfaction With VA Care; Why Then Are 6,500 VA Patients Killing Themselves Each Year?

On Oct. 3, 2012, American Legion’s newly-appointed leader, James Koutz, will deliver to Congress results of Legion’s 2012 survey of 25 VA medical installations. The report titled, “2012 System Worth Saving Task Force Report” omits any mention of the most critical issues of mental health care deficiencies, and the estimated 6,500 annual suicides among veterans registered with VA. Instead, the Legion’s top official is expected to tell congressional leaders that Legion survey takers found “drastic improvements” in the level of satisfaction among veterans dependent on VA for medical care. Pictured above, American Legion’s Fang Wong testified at a joint congressional hearing for veterans affairs Sept. 21, 2011. Traditional vet groups like American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, and others born during the WW II era, are considered by many younger vets as mostly out of touch with issues most important to them; especially in areas of mental health care and suicide prevention. (American Legion)

SURVEY: VA Care ‘Excellent,’ With Some Caveats

by Patricia Kime
Military Times, Oct 2, 2012

The American Legion’s new leader, James Koutz, will testify at a congressional hearing Oct. 3, 2012. He is expected to share the results of the Legion’s 2012 survey of VA medical facilities. The report all but ignores the two most glaring challenges now facing the VA: mental health care deficiencies and 6,500 annual suicides of VA patients.

A survey of 25 Veterans Affairs Department medical centers by the American Legion finds the quality of health care to be “excellent” but adds that VA’s Washington offices could make changes to improve performance.

In the 2012 System Worth Saving Task Force Report published Tuesday, the Legion’s survey team said VA’s aggressive quality-of-care initiatives in the past decade have resulted in “drastic improvements” in patient satisfaction.

But efforts to improve the system could fail unless VA overhauls its hiring process and appointment system, the task force recommends.

VA should create an executive task force to address system-wide staffing shortages and decentralize its scheduling and appointment system, the report states.

Read the rest of this story:

http://militarytimes.com/news/2012/10/military-american-legion-survey-VA-care-100212w/

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