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Roseburg VA responds to negative report on patient care

A spokesperson for the VA said they are not turning away patients to manipulate ratings.

Posted: Jan. 2, 2018 7:33 PM
Updated: Jan. 2, 2018 7:50 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. – The Roseburg Veterans Affairs hospital is calling a New York Times report claiming it puts patients at risk “false.”

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The report, published Monday, claims the hospital limits the number of patients it admits so it can boost its quality of care rating.

The idea is that the fewer patients admitted to the hospital, the fewer the chances for bad outcomes, according to the newspaper. That in turn would lead to better ratings, and more bonus money that officials make.

KEZI 9 News reached out to the Roseburg VA for a response to this report. A spokesperson called the story “false.”

“The Roseburg VAHCS is a one-star facility according to SAIL data,” said spokesperson Shanon Goodwin. “On its face, this shows there is no manipulation of data because, if the facility were manipulating data to boost its rating, wouldn't it be getting a higher score?”

Goodwin said they are admitting patients based off the capabilities of the hospital, not to manipulate ratings.

She said there are some conditions the hospital can’t treat, so they do turn some veterans away so they can get better care at other hospitals.

Read the full response from the Roseburg VA below:

"The New York Times story is false.

The Roseburg VAHCS is a one-star facility according to SAIL data. On its face, this shows there is no manipulation of data because, if the facility were manipulating data to boost its rating, wouldn't it be getting a higher score?

The answer is that it's not manipulating data, but rather basing admissions decisions on the actual clinical capabilities of the facility.

Roseburg VA Health Care System admits patients based on InterQual criteria, which is the industry standard for U.S. health care. All admission decisions are based on the hospital's ability to provide the care patients require and are made by clinicians, including the facility chief of staff and her clinical chiefs of service - non-clinical administrators have nothing to do with these decisions.

At its core, the Roseburg VAHCS is primarily an outpatient center, and that's why the hospital's clinical leadership has made clear to its physicians that the facility has limited capabilities to care for patients with certain clinical conditions that are far better treated in nearby community hospitals.

This is precisely why we're being transparent with our doctors about the conditions that the facility is unable to treat, because it's in Veterans' best interests for them to be seen at other hospitals in the community with greater capabilities to deliver them the best care for those conditions.

Secretary Shulkin has made clear that, under his leadership, VA is going to leverage the best of the private sector with the best of VA's own clinical capabilities. And, in the case of Roseburg, which has no intensive care unit and limited surgical capabilities, we are ensuring that Veterans receive the best care, whether from VA or in the community. In doing so, VA works closely with Veterans and community providers to coordinate such care.

Just as the Manchester, New Hampshire VA Medical Center is doing, Roseburg VAHCS is partnering deliberately with nearby community hospitals to deliver Veterans the best possible care based on the facility's actual clinical care capabilities."

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