Nine Veterans Affairs medical facilities received the lowest possible rating in newly released data, essentially crowning them as the worst VA hospitals for veterans.
Cue awkward celebratory music and balloon release.
By the VA’s own assessment, its lowest performing medical centers were:
Big Spring, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Loma Linda, California
The data comes from an end of the year review of 146 medical facilities, which ranked the best and worst with a rating of one to five stars (one being the lowest). As part of the review, VA medical centers and facilities were judged on things such as mortality rates, patient and employee satisfaction, quality of care, efficiency, and capacity.
On the whole, 66% of facilities showed improvement compared to the previous year, according to the review which went online Wednesday.
When it came to the decision to award a facility a single star, VA spokesman Curt Cashour told Task & Purpose that medical centers were evaluated on “relative performance; that is, a medical center’s relative performance against other medical centers” and whether they showed large, small, or trivial improvement from the year prior, or whether their performance declined altogether.
This might explain why some facilities, like those in Big Spring and El Paso, Texas, which both received one-star ratings last year, were judged to have improved significantly this time around, yet still ranked lowest compared to other VA facilities.
The Atlanta, Montgomery, Phoenix, Tucson, and Washington medical centers all showed trivial improvement, while those in Loma Linda and Memphis showed small improvement.
If your VA medical center has a one-star rating, however, the department says that doesn't necessarily mean the care is terrible, just that “one-star facilities will benefit from adopting successful practices from five-star facilities,” according to a fact sheet on the review process the VA provided to Task & Purpose.
As to what the difference is between the worst performers and the best, well, that’s not altogether clear based on the top-level data that came out yesterday. Neither is the difference between a one-star medical center like Loma Linda, compared to other facilities in the same state, like Long Beach which has two stars and Los Angeles, which has three.
Islamic state members walk in the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria February 18, 2019. (Reuters/Rodi Said)
NEAR BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) - The Islamic State appeared closer to defeat in its last enclave in eastern Syria on Wednesday, as a civilian convoy left the besieged area where U.S.-backed forces estimate a few hundred jihadists are still holed up.
U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 317th Airlift Wing walk to waiting family members and friends after stepping off of a C-130J Super Hercules at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 17, 2018 (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)
The U.S. Air Force has issued new guidelines for active-duty, reserve and National Guard airmen who are considered non-deployable, and officials will immediately begin flagging those who have been unable to deploy for 12 consecutive months for separation consideration.
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.