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Restoring trust in VA health care
Date:6/5/2014

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) In the wake of recent revelations of overly long patient wait times and systematic manipulation and falsification of reported wait-time data, UC Davis and Harvard public policy leaders believe the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health-care system's problems can be fixed by strong leadership, greater transparency and reforms that refocus the organization on its primary mission of providing timely access to consistently high-quality care.

In their Perspective article, published online June 4 in the New England Journal of Medicine, authors Kenneth W. Kizer and Ashish K. Jha provide new insights into the causes behind the VA's decline in safe, effective, patient-centered care and propose several first steps to help restore trust in the system.

Both physicians are among few who can provide an insider's view of challenges within the VA health-care system. Kizer served as undersecretary for health in the Department of Veterans Affairs from 1994 through 1999 and is credited with fundamentally transforming the system an effort widely viewed as the largest and most successful health-care turnaround in U.S. history. He is now director of the UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement and a distinguished professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine and Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Jha is a professor of Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health and a practicing general internist at the Boston VA Medical Center and the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

"Inadequate numbers of primary care providers, aged facilities, overly complicated scheduling processes and other difficult challenges have thwarted the VA's efforts to meet soaring demand for services," the authors stated in the article. "For years, it has been no secret that the VA's front lines of care delivery are understaffed for the needs.

"And though there can be no excuse for falsifying data, we believ
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Contact: Carole Gan
carole.gan@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9047
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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