New McCaskill Veterans Survey Shows Steady Progress in Quality of VA Service Across Missouri

Senator releases five regional reports built from confidential feedback from veterans ‘secret shopper’ survey; Shows high levels of satisfaction and improvements across the state

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today released five new regional reports showing veterans in Missouri have seen steady progress in the quality of their service at local Veterans Administration (VA) medical facilities.

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“Working to ensure Missouri’s veterans who have sacrificed so much receive the quality care and benefits they’ve earned is a sacred duty—and one I’ll always fight to uphold—so it’s critical for me to hear directly from veterans about what’s going right and what we need to keep working on,” said McCaskill, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I’m proud that in the last seven years we’ve seen steady progress across the state, so our veterans are able to get appointments quicker and receive care more efficiently—but we’ve also seen there’s more work to be done to ensure our VA facilities are properly staffed and adequately funded.”

McCaskill’s veteran secret shopper program, known as the Veterans’ Customer Satisfaction Program, launched in 2011 amid reports of problems with medical care at John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis, and is now in its seventh year. The survey is active in five regions: Springfield, St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, and Poplar Bluff—and allows veterans to share timely, confidential feedback about their VA health care visits, and helps provide oversight and accountability for VA health care facilities.

The reports reflect generally positive input gathered over the course of the past year from Missouri veterans, chronicling everything from customer service and quality of care, to detailed recommendations for the VA on ways to improve the health care experiences at all VA medical facilities. The past year’s round of surveys received nearly 1,200 responses.

Key takeaways from this year’s survey include:

  • Columbia: Veterans in the region continue to report very high levels of satisfaction across every category, including positive satisfaction levels exceeding 80% in three key categories: ease of access, cleanliness, and respect.
  • Kansas City: Veteran’s reports were generally positive, with nearly 75% of respondents reporting stable, strong satisfaction in regards to receiving necessary care and wait times to see providers. Although there were some areas of decline since last year’s report, veterans’ overall satisfaction remained strong.
  • Poplar Bluff: Veterans in this region expressed the most widespread satisfaction among all statewide veterans, with across-the-board increases in every category—including a 12% improvement in scheduling of appointments and 13% increase in overall experience.
  • St. Louis: When the VCSP started seven years ago, confidence in St. Louis VA facilities was low and satisfaction levels demonstrated several areas in need of improvement. This year’s report continued the positive trend from the past four reporting cycles, showing consistent and steady improvement in many areas, including cleanliness and wait times.
  • SWMO (Fayetteville): Veterans reported satisfaction levels that exceed 78% in nine out of ten categories. Additionally, while veterans reported greater ease with scheduling their appointments, there was a decrease in satisfaction with ease of access.

The full summaries of each report can be viewed here: ColumbiaKansas CityPoplar BluffSt. LouisSWMO (Fayetteville). Veterans looking to participate and offer feedback can visit mccaskill.senate.gov/vcsp.

McCaskill has been a longtime advocate for ensuring veterans receive the healthcare and benefits they’ve earned and deserve. Earlier this week, McCaskill voted in support of major bipartisan legislation to streamline and strengthen care for Missouri’s veterans, expand caregiver benefits to veterans of all eras, and provide greater flexibility to rural veterans seeking the care they need. Last August, President Trump signed McCaskill’s Arla Harrell Act—named after a 90-year-old Missouri veteran who was intentionally exposed to mustard gas during World War II. Since then, nearly $1 million in previously denied claims were awarded to World War II veterans who had been intentionally exposed to mustard gas.

With improving care for veterans a priority of her work—McCaskill has led efforts to increase accountability and quality of veterans services. McCaskill has helped lead efforts to address medical workforce shortages at the St. Louis VA by eliminating red tape that hinders reform and impacts care, and helps create initiatives to better leverage the VA workforce.

Veterans can visit mccaskill.senate.gov/vcsp to offer confidential feedback on their Missouri VA experiences.

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