Vets Compare VA Hospitals Online; Government Doctors May Face Pay FreezeGovernment Health IT: The Veterans Affairs Department's Hospital Compare website, www.hospitalcompare.va.gov, is "providing online tools so veterans can compare how well the VA's 153 hospitals perform, with the ultimate goal of spurring further improvements at those facilities." Veterans and their families can go online to compare the "relative strengths" and weaknesses of VA hospitals, ranked by color codes. The rankings take into account the quality of acute care, patient safety, and intensive care provided by each of the hospitals. Another online interface called Aspire "documents the quality and patient safety goals in specific measures," such as the percentage of veterans who are successfully lowering their high blood pressure, "as well as VA's progress in performing them from local to national levels" (Mosquera, 11/29).
Medpage Today: Meanwhile, "[m]ore than 25,000 physicians working in the federal government will see no pay raises before 2013, if a two-year pay freeze for all civilian federal employees proposed by President Obama is enacted." That would include about 16,000 physicians employed in the Veterans Affairs health system. The proposal would exempt medical professionals who serve as uniformed military personnel. "Obama said the pay freeze would cut federal spending by $2 billion in the current fiscal year. Under the plan, scheduled raises will not be implemented retroactively after the fiscal crisis eases" (Gever, 11/29). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.