Key Study On Future of NY Veterans Hospitals Wildly Misleading
WASHINGTON, DC - The long-awaited study evaluating options for the future of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Veterans Hospitals was made available to New Yorkers recently and the results were shocking: every option explored in the study was misleadingly found to have the same impact on veterans health care and access to care.
Expressing deep concern about the study’s data and methods, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY)
today sent a letter to Jim Nicholson, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), asking for a copy of the contract for the study from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a timeline of the solicitation process for awarding this contract, and any documents related to that process. A copy of the full letter is available at: http://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/olddocs/veterans/100305_NicholsonContract.pdf. The study, called the Stage I Summary Report and Appendix, was conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers though a contract with the VA.
Explaining the reason for her request, Maloney said, “PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) reached the unbelievable conclusion that all nine of its proposed options would have an identical impact on both quality of care and access to care. That’s simply not possible. It’s pretty obvious that any options that sever the VA’s longstanding affiliation with the high caliber physicians of New York Medical Center and Bellevue Medical Center will have a devastating impact on quality of care. Further, moving the VA out of Manhattan will make it much harder for veterans to access care.”
In her letter to Secretary Nicholson, Maloney also asked who the other bidders for the contracts were and what requirements were set forth by the VA for the recipient of the contract. Finally, because PWC is also studying other facilities elsewhere in the country, Maloney asked whether there is one contract for all the studies or individual contracts for each study.
Maloney continued, “If PWC believes quality of care and access to care are equal across the board, then cost-effectiveness is the only remaining variable. This may be why PWC’s main focus of attention seems to be real estate values. That’s a strange focus for a study that is supposed to be about providing high quality health care to veterans. The over-emphasis on profit led me to wonder whether there might be something in the underlying contract directing PWC to view cost-effectiveness as its highest goal. If so, this study is fatally flawed. This analysis should never be about real estate values and cash windfalls. It must be about improving the quality of health care for veterans in our region.”