This data snapshot displays levels of performance on various quality measures for each of the 10 Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals in New York State. The measures span four domains of care: patient satisfaction, patient safety, health outcomes, and the timeliness and effectiveness of care.
For each quality measure, the performance of each VA hospital is displayed relative to community-based (i.e., non-VA) hospitals within the same region of the State as well as to statewide averages. (See a summary of all VA hospital measures by region.) The measures pertain to hospital performance from 2014 to 2017, depending on the measure. Details on the data, measures, and the calculations used for regional and statewide community-based hospitals are discussed in the Methodology section.
Key findings include:
- VA hospitals and community-based hospitals perform similarly on most measures. VA hospitals do not consistently out- or under-perform relative to community-based hospitals across the measures included here.
- There are a few exceptions in which VAs perform, on the whole, better or worse than community-based hospitals.
- VA hospitals tend to perform better than their regional community-based hospitals for health outcomes related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and in fewer deaths within 30 days of discharge among heart failure patients.
- Conversely, VA hospitals tended to perform worse than community-based hospitals in 30-day readmissions for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia patients.
- There were no consistent patterns related to how VA hospitals performed relative to each other. Each of the VA hospitals seem to be better in some quality measures and worse on others.
These mixed results underscore the value of veterans having options of both VA and community-based care. Having choice is even more important considering that there are only 10 VA hospitals in the State, and 3 of New York State’s 11 regions have no VA hospital (see a list of hospitals by region and a map of VA hospitals). Many of the nearly 800,0001 veterans in New York State do not live near these facilities.
With information on the performance of New York State’s VA hospitals and community-based hospitals in their region or across the State, veterans can seek the best possible care available to them.
1 US Department of Veterans Affairs. State Summary New York FY2017 [dataset]. VA Open Data Portal, https://www.data.va.gov/. Published 10/30/2018. Accessed 3/18/2019.
Measures of patient satisfaction are based on responses to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. Patients are sampled from each hospital for the survey. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) requires all hospitals to conduct the HCAHPS survey. Patient satisfaction is evaluated across eight domains, including clinician communication, staff responsiveness, hospital environment, and discharge information.
These measures represent the patients’ experience of care during an inpatient stay. For all measures, a higher value indicates better performance.
The data reflected in these charts are the most recent Hospital Compare measures reported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services2. We focus on four categories of performance—patient satisfaction, patient safety, health outcomes, and timely and effective care. Though CMS Hospital Compare data includes several additional measures in the categories noted above, we included measures with data for 70% or more of New York State’s VA hospitals. The exception to the 70% threshold is for the Timely and Effective Care category, which had more missing data that other categories. For this category, we set a threshold of 60% data completeness when selecting measures.
In order to facilitate comparisons between VA and community-based hospitals, state averages for community-based hospitals are presented as reported by CMS Hospital Compare. For measures that did not have a statewide average reported in CMS data, we calculated a weighted average across New York State hospitals, weighting each hospital’s value by the denominator of the measure. Regional community-based hospitals are also represented as the median value of community-based hospitals located in the same region as the VA hospital(s).