Defense Health Care:

Patients' Views on Care They Received

HRD-89-137: Published: Sep 13, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) surveyed former inpatients and outpatients at nine military medical treatment facilities to determine their views on the care they received; and (2) reviewed those facilities' procedures for identifying and resolving patient complaints.

GAO found that: (1) 76 percent to 90 percent of outpatients and 83 percent to 97 percent of inpatients at each facility rated their care as good, very good, or excellent; (2) 42 percent to 66 percent of outpatients and 26 percent to 50 percent of inpatients at each facility commented negatively on some aspect of their care, most frequently citing rude, impersonal, or incompetent staff; (3) most patients indicated that they would go to the same facility again; (4) active duty personnel and their dependents were somewhat less satisfied with their care than were retirees and their dependents; (5) patients generally considered medical treatment facility staff to be courteous and competent; (6) medical staff regularly informed patients about health problems and treatments and generally satisfactorily answered patient questions; (7) outpatients most favorably rated ophthalmology, urology, dermatology, and outpatient surgery clinics; and (8) each of the facilities had patient representative programs which handled patient complaints and conducted patient surveys and generally included such key features as evaluating, reporting on, and following up on patients' complaints.

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