One of the compensations afforded to our veterans is medical care provided by the nation's 153 VA medical centers (VAMC). In Ohio, we have 5 such facilities, including one located in Cleveland (Louis Stokes VAMC).
Thanks to the nonprofit group The Project on Government Oversight, important information has been made public concerning the performance of these VA medical centers. Specifically, we can now see each medical center's record of medical malpractice complaints made during a 19-year span.
Medical care provided through the VA has a storied history. Prior to 1946, vets and their family members were unable to sue the government for medical malpractice which occurred at a VAMC. Then, in 1946, Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act.
This new law gave veterans the ability to sue the government for injuries from medical malpractice or from negligence by federal employees.
The recently released report shows medical malpractice claims between 1989 and 2008 for all 153 VAMCs. During that time, there were approximately 12,000 complaints, many of which were related to medical malpractice.
But by further breaking down the information, we can assess each hospital's level of quality by noting the number of medical malpractice complaints. It doesn't take long to discover that individual hospitals vary widely in terms of performance.
Check back later this week as we continue our discussion and analysis of this database in greater detail. We will take a closer look at scores in Cleveland compared to one of the highest performing VA medical centers in the nation.
Source: syracuse.com, "Syracuse VA Medical Center's malpractice claims total $2 million over 19 years," James T. Mulder, 02 June 2011