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Internal documents detail secret VA quality ratings

January 2, 2017

Photo: H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY)

Photo: H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY

The Department of Veterans Affairs has for years assigned star ratings for each of its medical centers based on the quality of care and service they provide, but the agency has repeatedly refused to make them public, saying they are meant for internal use only.

USA TODAY obtained internal documents detailing the ratings, and they show the lowest-performing medical centers are clustered in Texas and Tennessee.  Some lower-ranking medical centers have remained poor performers despite high-profile crises and years of attention and resources from Washington.

For instance, the Phoenix VA was a one-star medical center in 2014 when news broke that veterans had died awaiting care there while schedulers kept secret wait lists masking how long veterans were waiting for appointments. The revelations triggered a national scandal, hearings on Capitol Hill and the replacement of the VA secretary.  Phoenix remained a one-star facility in the most recent ratings two years later in December 2016.

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To read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/12/07/internal-report-details-secret-quality-ratings-veterans/

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