VFW Study Reveals VA Health Care Is Improving

In its seventh report, VFW announced that veterans are having 'positive experiences' at VA facilities

Veterans believe VA health care is getting better, according to results of a VFW study released in September.

The VFW report, titled Our Care 2019: A Report Evaluating Veterans Health Care, sampled opinions of 6,902 veterans. Of those, about 96 percent, or 6,762 total veterans, responded that they were eligible for VA care. Of the eligible veterans, more than 78 percent reported that they utilize VA health care.

Most veterans who use VA health care said they have “positive experiences” related to the quality of care at their local VA facility. About 82 percent of veterans reported being satisfied with their VA health care experiences. Nearly 7 percent reported being dissatisfied, and about 11 percent reported being neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their VA health care experiences.

VFW Commander-in-Chief William “Doc” Schmitz said that the reason so many veterans are satisfied with the VA is because of the “high-quality, individualized” treatment provided by the nation’s largest health care system.

“But there is always room for improvement, especially in the areas of access to quality care inside VA medical facilities and outside in the communities,” Schmitz said. “That’s why such surveys are so important, because the only way to improve any service is to routinely take the pulse of the customers the VA exists to serve.”

Veterans who reported that they did not use VA health care (about 4 percent) said they either had additional options for health care, had a bad experience with the VA or were put off by “bad stories” related to the VA’s health care system.

Overall, female veterans said they were less likely to use VA health care than male veterans, according to the VFW report.

Veterans between ages 60 to 79 years old were the most likely to use VA care. Some 82 percent of veterans ages 60 to 69 years old and 84 percent of those 70 to 79 years old said they used VA health care. Vietnam War veterans were the most likely of any age group to report using VA health care compared to veterans of other service periods.

Schmitz said that even though there are more non-VA health care options available to veterans than ever before, they still are enrolling in VA for their health care needs.

“Community care has always had a role in caring for our nation’s wounded, ill and injured veterans,” the Vietnam veterans said. “But its purpose is to augment, not replace, the continuity and continuum of care that only the VA can provide. And with our seventh report, our nation’s veterans agree."

This article is featured in the January 2020 issue of VFW magazine.