Reports Claim Veterans Trust VA Services

Two medical journals earlier this year reported that most veterans seeking benefits trust the care they receive at VA

Reports given by VA and medical publications earlier this year claim most veterans approve of the services they receive from VA, including the department’s health care.

In April, the Journal of General Internal Medicine and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons published a report titled Veterans Health Administration (VA) vs. Non-VA Healthcare Quality: A Systematic Review. It showed that VA health care patients were more likely to think positively about VA care than patients who receive services at non-VA clinics and hospitals.

“This study reinforces years of VFW surveys that demonstrate veterans who utilize VA are not only satisfied with their care but would also recommend VA care to their fellow veterans,” VFW Washington Office Executive Director Ryan Gallucci said.

VA building statueResearchers reviewed 37 different studies conducted between 2015 and 2023 and found that the quality and safety of health care at VA hospitals and clinics was better or equal to non-VA care in most studies.

“Patient experience in VA care was better than or equal to experience in non-VA care in all studies,” the report stated. “But access and cost/efficiency outcomes were mixed.”

The reports noted that access, cost/efficiency and patient experience between the two systems are not well-studied. Further research is needed on these outcomes and on services widely used by veterans in VA-paid community care.

About 90 percent of veterans receiving care from VA trust the department to deliver their care, according to VA-conducted surveys of its patients. The data was gathered from January to March 2022, and VA received more than 574,000 surveys. Overall, about 78 percent of veterans think favorably of all VA services, including education and home loan services.

“These studies demonstrate that VA care is consistently as good or better than non-VA care, both in surgical and non-surgical settings,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement to the media.

However, statistics show that female veterans had less trust in VA health care. About 73 percent of women surveyed said they trust VA, 7 percent less than men (80 percent). The largest drops in trust came from Hawaiian natives and Pacific islanders, as well as people of Middle Eastern and northern African descent.

On average, about 61 percent of people of Middle Eastern and northern African descent approved of VA services, including health care. This was a more than 16 percent drop from survey data from the end of 2021.

Trust from native Hawaiians and Pacific islanders dropped more than 10 percent, with a total of 77 percent trusting VA services. Other ethnicities and races did not see more than a 3.4 percent drop in trust, according to VA data.

This article is featured in the 2023 October issue of VFW magazine, and was written by Dave Spiva, associate editor for VFW magazine.