This time the fear concerns bloodborne pathogens which may have been spread by a dentist with very dirty work habits. The headline from USA Today: VA dentist resigns after hundreds possibly infected (LINK).
On Tuesday, Victoria Brahm, acting medical director at the center, announced that the VA was in the process of notifying 592 veterans treated by the dentist that they may be infected with hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV because he did not follow proper sterilization procedures….Earlier this week, Brahm said that the dentist was using his own equipment, then cleaning it and reusing it, which violates the VA’s regulations that call for the use of sterile and disposable equipment.
Tomah VA Medical Center (WI-link) also provides dental services to active military in the region. (I don’t see an official Tomah press release about this situation yet.)
Tomah is kicking Veterans Assistance Foundation (VAF–link), out of its building because of poor performance, according to a recent press release.
But the biggest news broke after Aaron Glantz wrote Opiates handed out like candy to ‘doped-up’ veterans at Wisconsin VA (Link).
The Senate investigated. The resulting May 2016 report, over 350-pages long, shows that even the Senate cannot obtain information from the VA. And how faithful employees tried for years to get the VA OIG to pay attention to their pleas for help. The information about how the VA OIG Hotline works is interesting reading. For an overview and link to the report–it’s a large pdf file–Sen. Ron Johnson’s website is worth a visit (link).
Some readers may think that this VAMC site should just be closed–that it’s unfixable. Based on this report, I believe that it can and must be reformed because there is probably nowhere else for these patients to go. And why can’t the 173-acre property can be used for long-term subsidized housing?
It’s too bad the charity Tomah partnered with failed, but other groups, properly vetted, could get involved. It would be good to see a quality group like the Fisher House Foundation provide services. The more affiliates or “outsiders” involved with VA centers, the less likely they can remain the fiefdoms of corrupt leaders.