New rating system affects where veterans can receive care

A new rating system restricts the types of surgery performed at certain Veterans Affairs facilities in five states.  Under the new policy, the VA's 112 hospitals are now ranked according to whether they are able to perform standard, intermediate or complex surgical operations.  Veterans may have to travel further to receive complex surgical operations under the new system.

The system was put in place after surgical mistakes caused nine deaths in the department's Marion, Ill., hospital a few years ago.

(Sources: Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, http://kaiserhealthnews.org, June 17, 2010; NPR, http://npr.org, June 17, 2010)