VA stopped sending performance data to Hospital Compare in July

The Department of Veterans Affairs stopped reporting data to Medicare’s Hospital Compare website this summer, despite the fact that it is legally required to do so.

Congress passed a law in 2014, after the VA scandal broke, requiring the department to submit substantial amounts of data to be posted on Hospital Compare, according to a report from USA Today, but a VA official confirmed to the newspaper that it had stopped reporting the information on July 1.

Joe Francis, the VA’s director of clinical analytics and reporting, told USA Today that attorneys from the Department of Health and Human Services advised the VA to stop reporting the data. The two agencies are working on a deal to manage information sharing, according to the article.

“It’s deeply frustrating to us, and it’s our commitment to get back online as soon as we can,” Francis told USA Today. HHS said in a statement to the newspaper that an agreement is expected “shortly,” though neither organization offered a timeline for the VA to resume reporting data to Hospital Compare.

In addition to cutting off data to Hospital Compare, the VA took down its own hospital comparison data from its website, according to the article. The page has been blank since February. The data is still available online for download, in the form of 140 spreadsheets, but they do not offer comparisons to private sector hospitals, according to the article. 

The 2014 law required the VA and HHS to reach a deal on data reporting within six months--the deadline passed in February 2015, according to USA Today.

The VA’s health system has been under intense scrutiny since reports of months-long wait times surfaced in 2014. Veterans were waiting an average of 71 days for care at a VA hospital, FierceHealthcare previously reported, and the ongoing fallout has led to a call to remove some executives from their jobs.