The U.S. Congress established the U.S. Veterans Administration in 1930, authorizing the U.S. President to “consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans.” Since 1930, the VA health care system has grown from 54 hospitals to 152 hospitals, 800 community based outpatient clinics, 126 nursing home care units, and 35 domiciliaries. Currently, the Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated health care system in the U.S., with over 1,700 sites of care, serving 8.76 million Veterans each year.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 2013 Performance and Accountability Report:
– 6,418,439 unique patients were treated in 2013 compared to 6,333,100 in 2012, representing an increase of 1.3% from 2012 to 2013;
– more than 270,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees of the total of 312,841 FTE VA employees support the VA’s health care system, as of September 30, 2013;
– for 2009‐2013, the average medical care cost per year was $39 billion;
– 93 percent of established primary care appointments were completed within 14 days of the desired date for the appointment;
– 93 percent of established specialty care appointments were completed within 14 days of the desired date for the appointment;
– 95 percent of established mental health patients with a scheduled appointment were completed within 14 days of the desired date for the appointment;
– 41 percent of new primary care appointments were completed within 14 days of the create date for the appointment;
– 40 percent of new specialty care appointments were completed within 14 days of the create date for the appointment;
– 66 percent of new mental health appointments were completed within 14 days of the create date for the appointment;
– 53 percent of the targeted population of OEF/OIF Veterans with a primary diagnosis of PTSD receive a minimum of 8 psychotherapy sessions within a 14-week period;
– 39 percent of surveyed patients responded “Always” to receiving timely appointments, care, and information;
– 11 percent of Veterans participate in telehealth;
– veterans requiring mental health services increased from 927,052 Veterans in 2006 to more than 1.46 million Veterans in 2013 (the VA has increased the mental health budget in 2013 by over 39 percent since 2009);
– in 2013, an additional 1,669 new mental health providers were hired and the VA established 24 pilot programs with community providers across 9 states and 7 Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) to improve access to mental health care;
– there are over 80 million mental health programs appointments a year (“it is still the case that a small but significant fraction of patients wait too long for their appointments, tests, or procedures … hampered by very old scheduling software”);
– in 2013, VA specific telehealth services were delivered to 603,532 Veterans with medical and mental health conditions, enabling these Veterans to live independently in their own homes and local communities;
– in 2013, there was a 24 percent expansion in the number of Veteran patients receiving care via clinical video telehealth‐based telemental health services that supported 95,059 Veterans;
– in 2013, there was a $2.3 billion increase in medical services, consisting mainly of increased medical personnel and direct patient care costs, and increased purchases of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals (in 2013, 64,000 more Priority 1‐6 patients were treated and 9,000 more non‐veteran patients were treated);
– in 2013, medical facility construction and administrative support costs increased by $287 million and $204 million, respectively;
– the VA operates 151 Medical Centers, 300 Vet Centers, 827 Community‐based Outpatient Clinics, 135 VA Community Living Centers, 6 Independent Output Clinics, 103 Residential Rehabilitation Centers, 225 National and State Cemeteries, and 56 Regional Offices;
– in 2013 and 2012, medical malpractice cases comprised 48 percent and 90 percent, respectively, of the amounts funded on behalf of the VA by the Judgment Fund [amounts in excess of $2,500.00 for Federal Tort Claims Act cases paid under any decision, settlement, or award are funded from the Judgment Fund maintained by the U.S. Treasury] – the 2013 tort payments were $173 million and the 2012 tort payments were $95 million;
The Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, states in the 2013 Performance and Accountability Report:
Our Nation depends on VA to care for the men and women who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms. These Servicemembers made a commitment to protect this Nation, and VA must continue to honor its commitment to care for these heroes and their dependents in a manner that is as effective and efficient as possible. VA health care and benefits delivery must be provided in a way that meets the needs of today’s Veterans and Veterans from earlier eras. It is vital that VA health care and benefits delivery work in tandem with support services like financial management, procurement, and information management to be capable and useful to the Veterans who turn to VA for the benefits they have earned.
According to published statistics regarding medical malpractice payments made by the Judgment Fund on behalf of the Department of Veteran Affairs from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012, there were 125 payments made that ranged from $350.00 to $11,147,977.00, for a total of $55,771,977.00.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injury or death as a result of medical care received through the VA, you should promptly contact a local medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who handles claims against the VA to learn about your rights and responsibilities in seeking compensation for the harms you suffered.
Click here to visit our website or telephone us on our toll-free line (800-295-3959) to be connected with VA medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you with your medical malpractice claim against the VA.
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