New web­site in­tro­duced in bid to im­prove health care ac­cess

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - — Laura Kelly

U.S. veter­ans will have new tools at their dis­posal to bet­ter man­age their health care on­line, the De­part­ment of Veter­ans Af­fairs an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

The Ac­cess and Qual­ity tool is a web in­ter­face for veter­ans where they can see pa­tient wait times in real time at VA hos­pi­tals in their area, among other tools and ser­vices.

The web­site, which will go live on May 1, is three years in the mak­ing and part of the de­part­ment’s ef­forts to im­prove pa­tient ac­cess and care af­ter a se­ries of scan­dals over the years.

Last year it was re­vealed that the calls to the Vet­eran’s Cri­sis Hot­line went unan­swered, send­ing dis­tressed callers to a voice­mail and not re­turn­ing mes­sages.

In 2014 it was re­vealed that over 100,000 veter­ans were wait­ing at least 90 days for an ap­point­ment as a re­sult of gross neg­li­gence within a num­ber of VA hos­pi­tals.

With the new web in­ter­face, veter­ans will have the op­por­tu­nity to con­trib­ute and ac­cess re­views of pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ences on sched­ul­ing pri­mary and spe­cialty care at spe­cific VA hos­pi­tals. They’ll also be able to view data of the qual­ity of health care at the VA and how it com­pares to area hos­pi­tals.

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