Inspections of VA clinics show mixed results

(INFO WARS)   WASHINGTON — Fewer than half of Veterans Affairs clinics given a surprise inspection last month had proper training and guidelines in place for common endoscopic procedures such as colonoscopies — even after the agency learned that mistakes may have exposed thousands of veterans to HIV and other diseases.

The findings, from the VA’s inspector general and obtained by The Associated Press, suggest that errors in colonoscopies and other minimally invasive procedures performed at VA facilities may be more widespread than initially believed.

The report is being released Tuesday at a hearing before a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee.

The surprise inspections were conducted May 13-14 at 42 VA facilities. Just 18 facilities — or 43 percent of those inspected — could document that they had standard operating procedures in place for the procedures and had properly trained their staffs.

The investigation comes months after the discovery of an equipment mistake at Murfreesboro, Tenn., led to a nationwide safety campaign by the VA at its 153 medical centers calling attention to potential misuse of the equipment.

Along with Murfreesboro, the agency has said problems were identified at a Miami facility and at an ear, nose and throat clinic in Augusta, Ga. In February the agency started warning 10,000 former patients at those facilities, some who had colonoscopies as far back as 2003, to get blood tests for HIV and hepatitis.

The VA says the chance of infection is remote. As of Friday, the VA reported that six veterans taking the follow-up blood checks tested positive for HIV, 34 tested positive for hepatitis C and 13 tested positive for hepatitis B.

There is no way to prove whether the infections came from VA errors, and some experts say most or all of the infections probably already existed.

http://militarytimes.com/news/2009/06/ap_va_clinics_inspections_061509/

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