New federal report lobs fresh criticisms at Dorn VA - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

New federal report lobs fresh criticisms at Dorn VA

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A report from the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General calls practices at Dorn VA Medical Center "fragmented and inconsistent," while pointing out high turnover in the hospital's leadership.

A confidential complaint was filed outlining 12 case examples alleging poor surgical quality of care, violations of VA policies related to patient privacy, contaminated surgical trays and weak surgical oversight and administrative controls.

In the 31-page report, the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General said inspectors witnessed some of the issues while visiting the facility. OIG made six multi-day visits to Dorn VA starting in February 2013.

One of the areas the report outlines is the infection control program, which ranks the center 127th out of 128 on the Heathcare-Associated infection and Patient Safety Indicator. Equipment that was supposed to be pre-cleaned was found to still be covered in blood and debris. When technicians were questions why the equipment wasn't pre-cleaned, inspectors were told by an employee, "He did not have time to pre-clean."

Dorn VA has also not been reporting required monthly data to local and state health departments on diseases and other illnesses.

In the past three years, Dorn VA has had eight chiefs of medicine, nine chiefs of mental health, and five quality managers. In addition, the report outlines that some surgery clinics were not adequately staffed by nursing and support personnel.

The OIG report indicated the University of South Carolina's School of Medicine pulled its general surgery residency program because there was no attending physician. In February 2013, the OIG reports said three general surgeons were on staff, who were in charge of supervising students. However, within weeks, one general surgeon left on extended sick leave and another "abruptly retired." The third part-time surgeon resigned. In addition, a vascular surgeon and a cardiothoracic surgeon couldn't complete surgeries because their practices were under review at the time.

The general surgeries program is still in jeopardy at Dorn VA because of the lack of general surgeons.

Inspectors also found that surgery clinics were not adequately staffed by nursing and support personnel.

Dorn VA responded to the OIG's recommendations and says it has fixed some of the issues.

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