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Daily Archives: August 24, 2013

New GAO Report – VA Health Care

VA Health Care: Actions Needed to Improve Administration of the Provider Performance Pay and Award Systems, GAO-13-536, Jul 24, 2013: “The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) performance pay policy has gaps in information needed to appropriately administer this type of pay. The performance pay policy gives VA’s 152 medical centers and 21 networks discretion in setting the goals providers must achieve to receive this pay, but does not specify an overarching purpose the goals are to support. VA officials responsible for writing the policy told us that the purpose of performance pay is to improve health care outcomes and quality, but this is not specified in the policy. Moreover, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has not reviewed the goals set by medical centers and networks and therefore does not have reasonable assurance that the goals make a clear link between performance pay and providers’ performance. Among the four medical centers GAO visited, performance pay goals covered a range of areas, including clinical, research, teaching, patient satisfaction, and administration. At these medical centers, all providers GAO reviewed who were eligible for performance pay received it, including all five providers who had an action taken against them related to clinical performance in the same year the pay was given. The related provider performance issues included failing to read mammograms and other complex images competently, practicing without a current license, and leaving residents unsupervised during surgery.”

FACT SHEET on the President’s Plan to Make College More Affordable

“[August 22, 2013], President Obama outlined an ambitious new agenda to combat rising college costs and make college affordable for American families. His plan will measure college performance through a new ratings system so students and families have the information to select schools that provide the best value. And after this ratings system is wellContinue Reading

UK Guardian to share Snowden NSA documents with New York Times

Via the Guardian’s Lisa O’Carroll: “The Guardian has struck a partnership with the New York Times which will give the US paper access to some of the sensitive cache of documents leaked by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The arrangement was made when the Guardian was faced with demands from the UK governmentContinue Reading

James River Bald Eagle Population Sets Record

By Dr Bryan Watts, Director, The Center for Conservation Biology “The bald eagle population along the historic James River has exceeded 200 pairs for the first time in written history. The 2013 aerial survey conducted by The Center for Conservation Biology recorded 205 pairs that produced 267 young. Areas supporting the highest densities include CharlesContinue Reading