On Tuesday, the agency's inspector general told the Congressional hearing that fewer than half of VA facilities targeted by last month's surprise inspections have proper training and guidelines in place to improve safety.
"You would certainly think that after the initial discoveries and the directive from the VA that medical directors would make sure that all of their equipment and procedures were brought into line, and yet this investigation shows that many, many did not," House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner, D-Calif., said on Tuesday. Filner did applaud the VA for the transparency with which it was handling the issue, however.
One expert believes fears over contamination via the medical instruments used at the VA may be exaggerated.
"Sterilizing medical equipment is a good idea," Philip Alcabes, associate professor of urban public health at Hunter College in New York City, told HealthDay. "But to claim that an extra threat of transmitting blood-borne viruses pertains to the VA's colonoscopy clinics seems like showmanship," he added. "Since it isn't clear that any patients were actually infected by this equipment, the situation doesn't seem to warrant special rhetoric. It would be better to try to separate the political controversy from the actual health problem here."
Find out more about colonoscopy at the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
SOURCES: Philip Alcabes, Ph.D., associate professor, urban public health, Hunter College, New York City; Associated Press
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