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Reed, Collins Press VA for Stricter Reporting Requirements on Sterilization Procedures

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Washington, DC, June 27, 2014 | comments

Concerned about recent reports of sanitation violations at the local VA hospital, Reps. Tom Reed and Chris Collins are pressing the VA for stricter reporting requirements to be implemented regarding sterilization procedures. In their letter to Acting Secretary of the VA Sloan Gibson, Reed and Collins demand stricter reporting measures be included in the Veterans Health Administration’s internal audit of medical centers and outpatient clinics.

“Reporting requirements need to be firmly in place to make sure VA employees are following every instruction so that veterans aren’t exposed to medically threatening situations,” Reed said. “This is a serious issue I’m concerned about – let’s focus on the problem and get it fixed so that no further damage is done. Thousands of veterans and their families have already been hurt by the negligence at the VA, with veterans waiting to get an appointment with their doctors for months. We owe it to our veterans to see that they receive the best possible care for their service. They deserve nothing less.”

“I am outraged by recent reports that poor sanitary practices have yet to be corrected at the Buffalo VA,” said Congressman Collins. “As I have said before, VA reform is needed immediately. Hospitals need to emphasize quality of care. When quality of care is not put first, negative consequences occur. Unfortunately, disturbing outcomes from the VA have happened all too frequently. It is insulting to our veterans that the same carelessness that led to hundreds of service members being potentially exposed to hepatitis and HIV has not been eliminated.”

Violations of sterilizations procedure at the Buffalo VA were outlined in a recent letter to President Obama from the Office of Special Counsel. For Reed and Collins, to think similar negligence is happening in VA hospitals in Buffalo or around the country because of employee carelessness is inexcusable.

According to a survey published by the New England Journal of Medicine, 1 in 25 American patients will contract a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) every year. 25 percent of those HAIs will be device-associated including catheter-associated bloodstream and urinary tract infections, and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Reed and Collins say even a single case is one too many: “We are deeply disturbed by the recent reports emerging from the Buffalo VA Medical Center regarding improperly sterilized medical equipment,” they write. “This hospital serves approximately 60,000 veterans annually which means malpractice and negligence on behalf of the employees can lead to a serious outbreak of illnesses and infections due to unsterilized equipment.”

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Tags: Veterans

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