Monday, March 13, 2006

In Defense of the VA

Wade Mountz, long-time friend and colleague and for many years CEO of Norton Infirmary in Louisville, KY – rises to the defense of the VA in response to a recent contribution on that subject:

I was appalled at the blanket description of the V.A. Healthcare system in your recent blog. I have been in the V.A. Medical Center in Louisville, Kentucky (outpatient only) two or three times a year for some time. No words in that description would come to my mind if I were describing the situation here. Certainly their medical record technology is light years ahead of most hospitals and doctors offices in this country. These facilities are old, but well maintained, are clean with no "stink to high heaven" and compare most favorably with community hospitals nationwide. A 30-40 minute wait for an appointment in a clinic is usually maximum. Every prescription is discussed with a pharmacist, but the queue is well organized and not that long. My drugs are usually mailed to me. The most remarkable (and perhaps surprising) thing that I witnessed from my first visit on has been the employee culture. Obviously my experience is limited, but by and large, the employee group here, from service workers through medical staff could not be more helpful or anxious to please. I am sure every VA institution is different, as is every community hospital. Somehow it would seem that the statement "every single VA hospital I've seen the inside of" etc.,etc. surely has to be a bit of a stretch - perhaps to justify the last sentence in the blog.

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