Best Care Anywhere: Why VA Health Care is Better Than Yours

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PoliPointPress, Jan 1, 2007 - Political Science - 159 pages
4 Reviews
The long-maligned Veterans Health Administration has become the highest-quality healthcare provider in the United States. This encouraging change not only has benefited veterans but also provides a blueprint for salvaging America's own deeply troubled healthcare system. "Best Care Anywhere" shows how a government bureaucracy, working with little notice, is setting the standard for best practices and cost reduction while the private sector is lagging in both areas. Author Phillip Longman challenges conventional wisdom by explaining exactly how market forces work to lower quality and raise prices in the healthcare sector, and how U.S. medical practices have a weak basis in science. The book, expanded from a widely praised article in the "Washington Monthly," mixes hard facts with author Philip Longmans' compelling human story of the loss of his wife to cancer. Part manifesto, part moving memoir, "Best Care Anywhere" offers new hope for addressing a major problem of contemporary society that affects all of us.

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User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I'm a vet. My repeated experience with VA health sucks. I could write two volumes describing the screw-ups in my care the last six months alone.
The question is if and how it can be
fixed. I feel helpless to fix the problem and merely
selfishly bulldog the bureaucracy to help myself. I believe most vets are less assertive and receive even worse help.
Charles Hubble
Best care anywhere...?...Baloney, the feds have no shame.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I’m a veteran who has spent years personally using a number of different private healthcare systems as well as the government run VA system. I have served as an Examiner for Michigan Quality Council and I’ve been trained as an examiner for the California Council for Excellence.
Based solely on my experience as an informed user of both VA and private medical services, and a critical examiner’s eye, I have ranked the VA Healthcare System superior on all measures - by a large margin. I dropped my private health care for VA. So I was not surprised when I read Best Care Anywhere: Why VA Health Care Is Better Then Yours,By Phillip Longman
If you are at all familiar with formal studies by impartial organizations such as The New England Medical Journal, you will find the “comparative” results below very impressive. If you prefer to rely on “examples” of problems the VA has had rather than how they compare to private health care’s problems, you may not be impressed. But if you prefer “examples” over studies, to be fair, you may want to check out “examples” of private health care’s problems. No system is perfect, but apples to apples VA is much better.
Here are a few “comparative” facts about the VA system that Longman has gathered into his timely book:
+ 2003, New England Journal of Medicine, Study of 11 measures of Quality of Care, VA vs Medicare, VA found significantly better on all 11 measures.
+ 2004, Annals of Internal Medicine, Care of Diabetes Patients, VA vs Commercial Care, VA found superior on all measures.
+ Rand Corporation (Study published in Annals of Internal Medicine), VA outperforms all other sectors of American health care in 294 measures of quality.
+ 2006, Elderly life expectancy study, VA vs Medicare Advantage, VA wins again.
+ National Committee for Quality Assurance, VA won this award over the highest rated Medical Facilities including the Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, and Massachusetts General
+ National Quality Research Center, VA has the highest consumer satisfaction rating of any public or private health care system – for 6 consecutive years.
+ Between 1994 and 2004 the cumulative cost increase at VA was only 0.8 percent, while the national medical consumer price index was up 39.4%.
+ All the above is achieved not because the VA patients are healthier to start with. Veterans enrolled with VA are older, sicker, poorer, more prone to mental illness and all other chronic illnesses compared to the general public.
Today only select veterans qualify for VA Health Care benefits. I wish VA would provide services to all veterans - and their families. Even better, VA Health Care should be the “Public Option” in the health care reform proposal. “VA has been shown in study after study to be providing the highest-quality medical care in America by such metrics as patient safety, patient satisfaction, and the observance of proven clinical protocols, even while reducing the cost per patient” - Longman.
Though not perfect, why not have the best?

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