Research Paper: Veterans &amp Retirees Is Government

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[. . .] $38.9 billion is estimated to be received in FY 08 rather than $36.9 billion.

The 2006-2011 strategic plans for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) outline the government's commitment to veterans. A goal of the VA is to "deliver world-class service to veterans and their families through effective communication and management of people, technology, business processes, and financial resources" (Department of Veterans Affair, October, 2006).

The VA had significant quality issues until Dr. Kenneth Kizer was appointed Under Secretary for Health in 1994. Dr. Kizer "decentralized the VA's cumbersome health bureaucracy and held original mangers more accountable. Patients records were transferred to a system-wide computer network" (Waller, 2006). The VA has become a healthcar model (Longman, 2005; Waller, 2006).

In 2007, the VA received a higher patient satisfaction score (83) than private healthcare (77) in the survey conducted by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). However, the VA's score is down 1.2% for inpatients and up 1.2% for outpatients from 2006. Private healthcare satisfaction scores increased 4.1% in 2007 (American Customer Satisfaction Index, 2007; Nicholson, 2007; Withrow, 2006). These scores demonstrate the level of satisfaction patients have with the quality of care they receive and highlight the need for healthcare organizations to understand the expectations of patients.

For over forty years, Veterans are using healthcare services and other benefits. What is not known is how satisfied the Veterans are with these services. Satisfaction is an important measure of the quality of service and its crucial in the evaluation of Veterans Health care and other services. Consumer satisfaction is viewed as an important guage of potential problems in the delivery of VA services and is linked to consumers seeking services, compliance with treatment, and health outcomes (Litt, 1998).

The development of the research problem for the study was influenced by the theory of quality of healthcare (Donabedian, 2003), which stresses that patient satisfaction is a significant component of quality of healthcare (Donabedian, 2003). Examining whether there is a correlation between patient satisfaction and provider type is important so that VA can make plans towards healthcare quality improvement.

Despite five open enrollment periods, over 4 million Medicare beneficiaries have not enrolled with Medicare's prescription drug benefit and have no drug coverage of any kind (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and numerous health plan sponsors have spent millions of dollars promoting the benefit (Justice, 2005), which goes by the title, Part D. One group of researchers estimated that 1.5 million of these uncovered seniors would not only benefit medically from reliable access to prescription drugs, but also financially, due to lower drug costs (Heiss, McFadden, & winter, 2006). There have been suggestions in the literature that indicate why seniors would forgo enrollment, against their self-interest. Researchers have documented that many Medicare beneficiaries know little about Medicare, are easily confused, and have difficulty asking for help.

Satisfaction is an important measure of the quality of service and its crucial in the evaluation of Veterans Health care and other services. Consumer satisfaction is viewed as an important guage of potential problems in the delivery of VA services and is linked to consumers seeking services, compliance with treatment, and health outcomes (Litt, 1998).

Although the overall veteran population has been declining, VA health care enrollees have been increasing and the portion of the veteran patients aged 65 and older is projected to increase by 41% in the next 10 years (VHA Office of Policy and Planning, 2002). Thus, we can expect the number of veterans enrolled in the VA who will potentially use additional health services under Medicare to increase.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research is to evaluate Veteran's satisfaction with services provided by Government through VA. The focus of the study will be on the overall experiences and perceptions of the Veterans from Mississippi and Louisiana. This study will describe how the Veterans Administration is using its financial and technical tools to provide better services to its Veteran population. It will outline what the current VA system looks like and how all the changes will benefit management and its ability to provide better services. First a short history will give a brief overview of how the VA was originally started. It will describe the how the VA hospital system has evolved from its earliest beginnings.

Research Questions

The mission of the VA is to provide healthcare services to the Veterans. To accomplish this goal, the VHA set thirteen Veterans Health Service Standards (VHSS) which will be discussed later, to provide all Veteran Integrated Service Networks (VISN) and facilities the resources to ensure that, "the highest quality of care and services are made available to veterans, and by extension, their families and/or significant others" (Veteran Health Administration 2006a)

Research Objectives

The following were the objectives of the research:

1. To measure whether the Government is keeping its promise by providing Efficient and better services and benefits toward Veterans?

2. To examine the Veterans about the benefits provided to them

3. To explore the difficulties Veterans are facing in accessing benefits

4. To relate Veterans satisfaction to federal policy for Veterans.

The central questions that guided this study included the following:

1. Are Veterans satisfied with the benefits Government providing through VA?

2. Are Veterans aware of the organizations that assist them to apply for benefits?

3. Is there a need for VA to improve services?

Operationalization of Variables

This research is a quantitative study exploring the availability and accessibility of VA healthcare and other services, with special focus on perceptions and experiences of Veterans from Mississippi and Louisiana. A review of the literature indicates that a quantitative research method should be used when the research does not fully understand the service, the characteristics of the veterans, or their problems, expectations, and needs (Steiber and Krowinski, 1990). It is also helpful to use quantitative methods when management is primarily interesting obtaining information useful in determining how to improve the service (Steiber and Krowinski 1990).

The dependent variable in this study was the perceptions of quality from Veterans about the benefits being provided to them by government. Online survey instrument was used to examine the perceptions of Veterans regarding availability, accessibility and adequacy of the healthcare and other benefits offered to Veterans.

The independent variables in this study were the Veteran's prior experiences with the VA services in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Study Significance

The veterans' opinion about the accessibility of services and benefits are significant. Government and VA want to know patients' perceptions about the benefits being provided to them. The Study's Significance

There were several items that made the study significant. This quantitative study provided a unique perspective on the experience of Veterans, identified their complaints regarding accessibility, availability and adequacy. As well as obtained their suggestion to improve services.

Till to date there are not any published robust quantitative studies that examine the Veterans experiences and perceptions about the overall services being offered by the Government. Since the benefits announced since Veterans Administration launched in 1989, researchers have published papers that have examined some aspects related to veterans. These studies were largely quantitative in nature and scrutinized narrowly focused facets of the problem within no particular paradigm. The dissertation study distinctively examined the overall experience of Veterans about the Services. The study was significant because the results provided a more grounded starting point for further investigation into this unique problem.

The study of veterans experiences and perceptions about Government benefits and whether the Government is keeping its promise in providing benefits to Veterans and Retirees will help the Government to assess the flaws of their policies. The study will also be helpful providing information to Veterans Administration about veterans' knowledge of VA services, perceptions about the quality of the VA, and the influence of these factors upon veterans' which will lead to improvement in providing care. The objective that eligible veterans know about VA care and are able to make an informed appraisal about the quality of that service option is a reasonable goal. This study examines the extent to which lack of information about services and poor evaluations of VA health care quality represent barriers to service utilization.

A key contribution this work makes to the general health services literature is that the analyses provide an insight into the extent that predisposing, enabling, and need characteristics predict service use and the provider source that veterans use for their health care needs.

Limitations

Veteran's patients may not define satisfaction as these in the non-veteran sectors because of their military experiences, expectation of care, and service deliver by the VA systems. There may be the possibility of the halo effect such as respondents' positive response bias due to respondents' research participation. The halo effect is defined as the "generalization from the perception of one outstanding personality trait to an overly favorable evaluation of the whole personality (National Quality Care, 2006), or providing positive but bias responses based on respondents' familiarity with the study or… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Veterans &amp Retirees Is Government.  (2011, June 12).  Retrieved July 24, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/veterans-retirees-government/7352474

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"Veterans &amp Retirees Is Government."  12 June 2011.  Web.  24 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/veterans-retirees-government/7352474>.

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"Veterans &amp Retirees Is Government."  Essaytown.com.  June 12, 2011.  Accessed July 24, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/veterans-retirees-government/7352474.