, Legal Times

Shortcomings at VA Systemic, Lawsuits Show

Agency pays millions annually to resolve care claims.


Agency pays millions annually to resolve care claims.

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What's being said

  • Harvey Feinberg

    The article implies that certain regional V-A heathcare units have more standard of care related problems than others and no doubt some regional variation exsists, However, using number of Med-Mal cases won/setteled as determinate of care quality is misleading. It seems logical to associate low Quality of Care with the number of filings naming a particular V-A Center as defendant but in States with limits on Med-Mal Non-Economic awards the opposite may be true. As one commentator noted, States which limit non-economic damage awards have less filings as these limits are an effective barrier to a damaged indivdual filing a Med-Mal Actions. Limit Bills are cynically crafted by powerful Insurance and Health Proivider groups and portrayed as gaurdians of public acess to affordable health care. In reality, the legislation is designed to limit claims of merit as nonmeritorius claims are an insignificant part of Health Care Cost. Infact, there is no difference in health care costs of States with and without the limits.
    I now Digress from the article:
    The only beneficiaries of Award Limitation are the Bad Players in Health Care delivery. The only effective way to ensure adherance to National Quality of Care Standards, a responsive system of evolving standards created by Medicare , is the big stick of Tort Law. Unfettered Tort Law results in effective Industry self regulation via the Hammer of "risk-management", an effective process used by Liability Insurers to eliminate the bad players by denying them Liability Coverage.

    The the V-A Health Care system is an anachronism whose inability to deliver its mandate is rooted in a failed/outmoded orginzational, management, and delivery system. The only answer is to dissolve it completely and fold it‘s reciepients of care into the general system of Health Care. To that end abolish bad care by eliminating Tort award limits that protect the bad players, parasites that feed on the suffering and dollors of our fellow Americans

  • bkwruble

    This is such an irresponsible, sophomoric article. What is needed is to compare the VA‘s record, given the millions of treatment each year, with that of other public and private hospitals -- and then take into account that the VA‘s patient population presents extraordinarily complicated medical conditions, beyond that of the normal population. Then we can assess the VA‘s record in quality of care -- which by most accounts (other than the hand-waving article above) is held to be very good. The author apparently slept through statistics class.

  • Avon

    This is not a lot of malpractice cases. Any public hospital system with this many patients could expect the same rate of cases, if not in a jurisdiction that has legislated caps on lawsuits (which makes them hard to file, as there‘s no "upside" to induce a lawyer to work on contingency). NYC pays out about as much as the VA on an annual basis, if these figures are accurate.

    And why not? If you provide countless billions of dollars worth of medical care, there will be errors (as long as human beings are involved in providing the care), and $150 million per year is only a few dollars per veteran in the US. The postage just to mail every veteran their VA paperwork is probably more than that!

    But for me, the main issue is still that it‘s not Shinseki‘s fault ... if it‘s his job to prevent a misdiagnosis, then every mayor in the USA should be forced to resign because every municipal hospital misdiagnoses patients. I cringe, since not only is it as useless as it is unfair to fire him, but I‘ve believed for years that Shinseki is an unusually good administrator and a very good man.

  • Mary Campbell

    Let‘s put Darrell Issa in charge. He seems to have a lot of ideas.

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