Miami VA Hospital Among Those Clinics Under Federal Scrutiny
For the second time a congressional subcommittee will hold hearings and hear testimony about Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and veterans treated with unsanitary equipment.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) visited the Miami VA facility March 23 and subsequently requested this hearing, which has been titled “Sacred Obligation: Restoring Veteran Trust and Patient Safety.”
The inquiry will investigate the substandard sterilization procedures at the Miami VA hospital as well as 4 other medical centers. The failed protocols of these medical centers threatened thousands of veterans with contracting communicable diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.
The hearings will be held by the House Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. One issue they will address is why the VA has not established one standard for equipment sterilization to which all VA medical centers must adhere. They will also examine the VA’s issues with restricting the medical practice of those practitioners suspected of wrongdoing as well as the VA’s apparent inability to effectively and efficiently notify those patients risking infection from exposure.
Both the House and the Senate held hearings in 2009, but subsequent problems arose. The VA struggled with notification issues and new problems suffered around the country. Internal VA investigations produced findings unfavorable to the VA. It is hoped these hearings can put an end to this chapter once and for all, and to make sure it is not repeated.