Published: Fri, April 14, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Legion Praises VA for Removing Medical Center Director in Washington

Legion Praises VA for Removing Medical Center Director in Washington

Veterans Affairs temporarily assigned the director to administrative duties and named Dr. Charles Faselis acting director. Five of these areas had mixed sterile equipment and supplies with dirty stock, and eight of them were improperly configured to prevent contamination from the floor.

"There was no effective system to ensure that supplies and equipment that were subject to patient safety recalls were not used on patients", the report states.

Supply shortages of important medical devices, including one March 15 case in which the center ran out of bloodlines for dialysis patients.

"I would hope that part of the conversation that the VA is having is how to make sure they are capturing the right and accurate data for this website, not just relying on methods they have used in the past", Riley-Topping said.

"VA is conducting a swift and comprehensive review into these findings", a VA statement said.

While Veterans Affairs did take several immediate actions to address these issues after being notified March 30, the Inspector General "feels that these actions are short-term and insufficient to ensure the implementation of an effective inventory management system at the VAMC".

Missal stated that the findings "placed patients at 'unnecessary risk, '" but the office does not know yet if any of the practices harmed patients.

United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin has asked Congress to pass legislation that would shorten the overall termination and appeals process for VA employees who are engaging in misconduct.

Also this week, the inspector general's office learned that other surgical operations were ongoing even though the hospital had run out of compression devices to place on patients' legs to prevent blood clots from forming.

Over $150 million in equipment or supplies had not been inventoried in the past year and therefore had not been accounted for. Some of the vacancies were for a chief of logistics, assistant chief of logistics and supply technicians. "Transparency is a critical component of VA reform", he said. Before this, he said, people could not find out what was going on at VA hospitals the same way they can look at data from the health department on other hospitals in their area.

While veterans advocacy organization Concerned Veterans for America applauded the decision to remove the director, the group said that much more needs to be done.

Law now allows federal employees 30 days written notice before they're fired or demoted, and provides an appeals process. "The American Legion will be holding a town hall meeting with Washington, D.C., veterans and VA officials in the very near future".

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