While having medical coverage after retirement is important to most people in New York and around the country, it is especially crucial for the health and well-being of retired service members. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) treats millions of patients every year across the nation, and countless families rely on the agency at all stages of life. That is why new evidence pointing to the fact that medical malpractice rates in the VA medical system may be higher than those among other providers are particularly concerning to many.
Harvard University recently conducted a study that found medical malpractice claims are paid by most hospitals in approximately 20 percent of cases. That figure increases to 25 percent for claims against the VA. And according to an audit conducted by the VA itself, the agency spent almost $100 million on medical malpractice payments in 2012.
The VA medical group contends that it was only involved in approximately 1500 malpractice cases in 2012, and that the number is reasonable considering that it deals with millions of patients every year. Some critics argue, however, that the fact that close to $850 million was spent by the VA on payments to malpractice victims over a ten-year period is unreasonable. Critics also note that many medical personnel involved in those malpractice cases continued to receive benefits and bonuses.
Citing specific examples of serious medical errors that have occurred over the years, those calling for reform to the VA medical system argue that retired service members deserve better than the level and quality of care they currently have access to.
Source: legalexaminer.com, “Audit Reveals VA Hospitals Spend Hundreds Of Millions Paying Medical Malpractice Claims,” Patrick Austin, Feb. 4, 2014