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VA accused of unreasonably high medical malpractice rates

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is one of the largest medical groups in the country, and treats millions of patients every year. Countless retired service members and their families rely on medical treatments provided by VA facilities in New York, and expect to receive the same level and quality of care provided by other leading medical carriers. If the findings of more than one recent study are correct, however, VA patients may actually face more incidents of medical malpractice then those treated by other groups.

While Harvard University estimates that 20 percent of medical malpractice claims result in payouts by hospitals to victims, that number increases by five percent in cases involving a VA. The VA claims that only a little more than 1500 malpractice claims were filed against the agency in 2012. A recent audit found that the victims in those cases received close to $100 million from the VA. And in the 10 years before that, more than $800 million was spent on malpractice victims and their families.

According to the VA medical group, such findings are not alarming since they reflect the fact that the agency treats millions of patients each year. Critics argue, however, that the findings of the audit confirm that malpractice claims against the agency are increasing at an alarming rate. Some critics also raise concerns over the fact that some physicians and other personnel involved in malpractice incidents were given bonuses by the VA.

As a result of the audit, many politicians and other groups are calling for an overhaul to the VA medical system. Those in favor of reform argue that retired service members and their families are entitled to a higher standard of care.

Source: legalexaminer.com, “Audit Reveals VA Hospitals Spend Hundreds Of Millions Paying Medical Malpractice Claims,” Patrick Austin, Feb. 4, 2014

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