06.24.09

Committee Holds Oversight Hearing; Focuses on Use of Contaminated Endoscopy Equipment

Today, the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs held an oversight hearing on VA quality management focusing largely on the use of contaminated endoscopy equipment at VA facilities. In the wake of what appears to be extreme negligence after repeated directives, VA officials testified and answered questions before the Committee.

"When veterans have lost confidence in VA, we have all failed in our mission to deliver world class health care to those who fought for us," Senator Burr said. "Despite numerous and multiple warning signs, directives, and patient safety alerts, VA apparently chose not to learn from their mistakes and take steps to ensure they didn't happen again."

Last week, VA's Inspector General released their report on the endoscopy failures, finding that more than half of VA facilities visited by investigators are currently not in compliance with the Standard Operating Procedures and competency guidelines for the reprocessing of endoscopy equipment.

"After eleven patient safety alerts on the topic of medical device and equipment reprocessing, enough is enough," Senator Burr said. "VA must improve quality management for the sake of all veterans. They depend on the VA system, and we owe them nothing less than the highest quality care," Senator Burr added.