A new Veterans Affairs report obtained by NBC News shows how the San Diego VA health care facility stacks up against other department hospitals in the country.
VA facilities nationwide saw 575 adverse events in 2013, when that health care system served more than 6.3 million veterans.
Adverse events include cases “that cause death or disability, lead to prolonged hospitalization, require life-sustaining intervention or intervention to prevent impairment or damage” that occur due to the VA’s actions – or lack thereof – according to the VA employee’s handbook.
San Diego has 250,000 veterans in its system, and since the fourth quarter of 2012, there were six adverse events.
Statistically those numbers are good, compared other cities like Los Angeles, which had 21 incidents in 2013.
Gainesville, Fla. topped the list of the most adverse events with 31 last year, followed by Pittsburgh, Penn. with 26.
But for those affected by the mistakes, statistics don’t matter.
In a statement, the Department of Veterans Affairs responded to that sentiment, saying in part, “For the VA, even one adverse event is one too many, and we are committed to doing everything that we can to restore the faith and trust of our Veterans who have earned care by their service to our Nation.”
Lawmakers say they want to see better, more consistent reporting of these types of events.
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller accused the VA of not doing what its supposed to do on a regular basis.
“Unfortunately, we have seen many, many institutional disclosures that have had to be given to families,” said Miller, “but there are places where it appears they are not following the rules they themselves set, and certainly veterans and their families would expect.”
The VA report, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, shows there was a 70 percent jump in adverse events between 2010 and 2013.
Scott MacFarlane, investigative reporter for News4 in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.