Local VA clinic rating climbs

Harlingen ranks 3 out of 5 stars

HARLINGEN — Years after hitting rock bottom with a one-star rating, the VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System has made a steady comeback.

The facility recently received a three-star rating for its health care facility by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 2017, the facility received a one-star rating — the lowest out of five stars — but bumped up to a two-star rating the following year.

“Our health care system is very happy to have reached this three-star rating,” said Valley Coastal Bend Chief of Staff Dr. Eric Kendle. “Our staff of caring and hardworking professionals have earned it and we are proud of it.”

VA facilities around the country are rated on a five-star scale each year based on the Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning Value Model (SAIL), a system used to summarize hospital system performance within Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

Through SAIL, 25 quality measures of individual VA Medical Centers are assessed in areas such as death rate, complications, patient satisfaction, overall efficiency and physician capacity.

What changed?

Kendle attributes Valley Coastal Bend’s three-star status to months of focused, ongoing performance activities, their caring and dedicated staff and dynamic leadership.

“This is not about a facility ranking number or a star,” Kendle said. “It is about the quantifiable evidence of the quality health care services we deliver every single day.”

Some specific areas Valley Coastal Bend personnel feel have improved their rating are offering same day service action plans for custom-made orthotic braces and prosthetic limbs, the implementation of the VA Ambassadors program and the launch of the VCB Call Center.

Kendle said the facility plans to continue working on increased services and quality of services to maintain their “significant gains” in SAIL.

“I encourage everyone to please continue to communicate and work hard to help each other in providing the quality and level of health care you would be proud to provide for your family members and friends,” he said. “When we think of our work in these terms, we are more often doing it right and better.”

THE STAR SYSTEM

• A one-star rating is the lowest possible score a VA Medical Center can receive.

• A five-star rating is the highest.