Shortly after the latest interim director for the Memphis VA Medical Center arrived this fall, he didn’t hide the fact that Memphis is a “one-star facility,” among the agency’s worst performing centers in the nation.
While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not publicly share its hospital performance ratings, a list obtained by USA Today shows the Memphis VA center is not alone at the bottom of the ratings. Tennessee is a hot spot for VA medical centers rated only a single star on the five-star ranking used to guide improvements.
The Tennessee Valley Healthcare System with campuses in Nashville and Murfreesboro also rates only one star.
In contrast, the Mountain Home VA Medical Center in Johnson City is a four-star facility, based on more than two dozen measures of quality, ranging from hospital death rates to avoidable complications and patient satisfaction.
Both advocates and critics of the federal health care system for veterans point to leadership as a major factor in medical center performance. The Memphis center assisted more than 68,000 veterans last year while the Tennessee Valley System saw 96,600.