The VA Boston Healthcare System’s main mission - to care for injured veterans and their families - is well understood, but many have an outdated view that the Veterans Affairs offers substandard care and is technologically behind the Hub’s major private hospitals.
By all accounts, the VA has rebounded since the late 1990s into a system that rivals private hospitals for quality of care. The federal government has moved to reduce the bureaucracy and invested a lot in technology to improve areas such as electronic medical records and bar-coding prescriptions. And the VA system has been given a mandate to focus on research, so it provides staff with the time and resources to work on projects to further improve the quality of care.
The VA has done pioneering work on the pacemaker, on aspirin’s role in preventing heart attacks, on the treatment of brain and spinal cord injuries and on post-traumatic stress disorder.