VA inspector general warns: DC Medical Center patients "at unnecessary risk"

Watchdog warns of 'unnecessary risk' to VA hospital patients in DC

A new Department of Veterans Affairs website is allowing military veterans to compare wait times and quality of care of VA facilities and other hospitals around the country. PBS NewsHour will live stream the secretary's remarks.

The investigation found that some of the "hospice staff violated hospital and Veterans Affairs policies by 'failing to provide appropriate post-mortem care, ' including proper transportation of a body to the morgue, according to the report by the hospital's Administrative Investigation Board".

OIG's investigation is still on-going but says it released its preliminary findings today based on the "exigent nature" of what inspectors had already discovered adding it found "a number of serious and troubling deficiencies at the Medical Center that place patients at unnecessary risk".

In this statement, the VA named Dr. Charles Faselis as the acting medical center director, promoting him from his previous position of chief of staff. "The department considers this an urgent patient-safety issue", the statement said.

The former director, Brian A. Hawkins, could not immediately be reached for comment by CNN.

The inspection found 18 of 25 storage areas for supplies were dirty and that $150 million in equipment or supplies had not been inventoried in the past year.

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Supply shortages of important medical devices, including one March 15 case in which the center ran out of bloodlines for dialysis patients. But delays were significant, according to the report; for instance, four prostate biopsy surgeries were cancelled because biopsy guns were not available for the procedures.

The inspector general said in its report that senior management at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has known about the issues "for some time without effective remediation". Although the report said the inspector general's office had not yet found any "adverse patient outcomes", it goes on to detail unsanitary conditions, poor management by administrators, and a lack of critical supplies.

"The OIG's work is continuing and will include an assessment of whether patient harm has resulted from any of these inventory practices in its final report on the Medical Center", he wrote.

"If you wanted to look at some of the type of care, you could select mental health, women's health, audiology, cardiology - so some of the specialty care services that we provide - and also see how long it takes to get in there", Sample said.

"VA is conducting a swift and comprehensive review into these findings. We urge the Senate to prioritize sending the VA Accountability First Act of 2017 to President Trump's desk".

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