The annual list, released by the VA on Wednesday, shows that nine of the VA’s 146 ranked hospitals earned the lowest possible one-star rating ― down from 14 hospitals last year. Seventeen hospitals received the highest five-star rating, compared with 19 last year.
Three of this year’s lowest-ranked hospitals ― in El Paso, Texas; Phoenix and Memphis, Tennessee ― showed no change in their one-star ranking since 2016, when the VA first started releasing the annual reports. Two other hospitals ― in Big Spring, Texas and Loma Linda, California ― received a one-star rating for the second straight year.
Still, the VA said 66 percent of its hospitals, or 96 of the 146, showed improvements from last year’s findings. Those gains included rates of mortality, length of stay and avoidable adverse events, the VA said.
“With closer monitoring and increased medical center leadership and support we have seen solid improvements at most of our facilities,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. “Even our highest performing facilities are getting better, and that is driving up our quality standards across the country.”
Wilkie added: “There’s no doubt that there’s still plenty of work to do.”
Hospitals that received a one-star rating will undergo “improvement activities,” the VA said.
The VA announced in Feburary a four-step improvement plan for one-star rated facilities overseen by Dr. Peter Almenoff. The program would identify weaknesses, set performance targets, dispatch “expert improvement coaches” and make leadership changes if necessary, the VA said.
The VA on Wednesday credited the new program with knocking eight hospitals off the high-risk list and leading to “measurable improvements” in 12 others.
“Improvement activities” are underway at the six hospitals that declined in this year’s rankings, the VA added.
This year’s list of one-star-rated hospitals are:
- Big Spring
- El Paso
- Loma Linda
This year’s list of five-star-rated hospitals are:
- Hot Springs
- Iron Mountain
- St Cloud