Wednesday, May 4, 2011

VA under fire for oversights at medical centers

Officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs apologized Tuesday for “failures of leadership” that led to questions about the cleanliness of instruments at two Veterans Affairs dental clinics, including the one in St. Louis.

The Undersecretary for Health, Robert Petzel, told members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee some employees have failed to follow the department’s sterilization standards, which he calls the top in the country.

He says people in charge of oversight have been disciplined.

“We have proposed removal in a number of instances, and almost invariably the individual has resigned or retired. We have also reprimanded individuals, suspensions, and letters of counseling,” Petzel said.

The answer was not enough for some lawmakers at the hearing. Missouri Democrat Russ Carnahan, who requested the hearing along with a colleague from Ohio, noted that government concerns about sterilization practices go back as far as 2007.

Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio


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