VA Health Care: “Best Care Anywhere”
In the conclusion to my Memorial Day post—“Memorial Day 2010: Remembering, Honoring and Hoping”—I wrote:
I hope, however, when Memorial Day is over, and we go back to debating the politics of war and peace; the pros and cons of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell;” the imagined and real perils of fully integrating women in the armed services; and the cost of the physical and mental health care our returning heroes so badly need, that we will keep in mind that the courage and patriotism of our service men and women and their willingness to pay the ultimate price, know—just as enemy bombs and bullets—no race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or national origin.
As to taking care of our returning heroes, we still have a long way to go in dealing with the shocking number of homeless veterans; in taking care of those suffering from substance abuse, serious mental illnesses and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; in reducing the alarmingly high suicide rate among them and, generally, in helping our veterans transition from active, combat duty to civilian life. However, as I have stated before, I believe that we are making good progress in improving our veterans’ health care, especially under the excellent leadership of VA Secretary, Gen. Eric Shinseki.
As a matter of fact, one person, Phillip Longman, believes that our veterans are receiving the “best care anywhere.”
In his new book, Best Care Anywhere (Second Edition), Longman, an award-winning journalist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation, maintains that the quality of care in our veterans facilities is better—in several respects “significantly better”—than Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial health care and uses numerous studies by prestigious institutions and organizations, compelling statistics, surveys and case studies to prove his point that VA hospitals actually offer the highest-quality care in America according to virtually every measurement of safety, cost effectiveness and patient satisfaction.
On this Memorial Day weekend, as we honor our fallen heroes, and in the wake of the recently passed health care reform legislation, Best Care Anywhere (PoliPoint Press – April 30, 2010) is a particularly appropriate read as this second edition, while focusing on the health care of our veterans, also reflects the recent health care legislation developments and how the “quality revolution” at our nation’s veterans hospitals can help us reform the U.S. health care system as a whole, and offers “a realistic plan for creating a civilian version of the VA—a truly public option offering high-quality health care and substantial cost savings.”
Phillip Longman, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, is an award-winning journalist and author whose work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Harvard Business Review, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Washington Monthly.
A frequent public speaker, he is also regularly interviewed by both foreign and domestic media, including National Public Radio, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Der Spiegel, and many others. Formerly a senior writer and deputy assistant managing editor at U.S. News & World Report, he has won numerous awards for his business and financial writing, including UCLA’s Gerald Loeb Award, and the top prize for investigative journalism from Investigative Reporters and Editors.