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Report Uncovers Unsanitary Conditions at VA Hospital

Operating rooms were not properly cleaned at the veterans' hospital in West Haven, Conn., among other deficiencies brought to light in a new report.

The VA Hospital in West Haven, Conn. Credit: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
The VA Hospital in West Haven, Conn. Credit: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Operating rooms at Connecticut's only VA Hospital have not been getting cleaned up to industry standards, according to a report released Tuesday.

The report, by the Office of Healthcare Inspections for the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General, is based on findings gleaned during an inspection of the 230-bed hospital in June. The inspection was prompted by allegations of unsanitary conditions in the operating room (OR) at the hospital, which is located in West Haven, Conn.

"We found that cleanliness of the OR could not be assured due to inadequate staff resources, incomplete and inconsistent procedures, poor supervision and training of Environmental Management Services (EMS) staff, and lack of oversight," a summary of the report states. 

"We also found that safeguards were inadequate for ensuring patient and employee safety when infectious patients requiring special precautions were scheduled for OR procedures concurrently with noninfectious patients," it continues. "We also identified issues related to maintenance of the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning system and insect control in the OR."

"Although our findings substantiated an increased risk to patients and staff, we found no conclusive evidence that the environment of care deficiencies in the OR resulted in negative patient outcomes."

The VA Connecticut Healthcare System, which manages the hospital, issued the following statement Wednesday in response to the report:
  • We are committed to providing veterans with the highest quality care in the best patient care environment. We will continue to work with our team to make improvements to the environment and processes based on the IG recommendations and VA standards.
  • The report is a thorough and honest snapshot from an inspection that occurred in June 2013. The IG report states that it found no evidence that the environment of care deficiencies in the OR resulted in negative patient outcomes.
  • It is important to note that many of the issues identified were corrected as noted in the report before the inspectors left the facility or shortly thereafter. 
  • The amount of detail in the report and the corrective actions being undertaken demonstrate the seriousness with which VA Connecticut responded to the IG report. It also underscores the commitment of VA — both at the national and local levels — to provide veterans the best possible care environment.
You can read the full report online.
Paul Bahre February 21, 2014 at 10:08 AM
I got out of the service and I had a letter from the Air Force asking the VA to clean my teeth as they did not have time when I was out processing. The VA did that. I got a look around when I was there for that over 30 years ago. I said to myself I never want to come back to this place as a patient. I have never gone back to the VA for any personal service since. The only time I go to the VA is to visit other vets or to give a ride to another vet. I'll do my best not to get any care from the VA. I think I will stay much healthier for it.
Thomas Alegi February 21, 2014 at 10:37 PM
Paul, how is your private doctor doing 30 years later? He's at the VA getting his health issues look at.LOL
Paul Bahre February 22, 2014 at 12:26 AM
Well I have had several in the last 30 years. The one I have now is a very nice lady who is a bit younger than me.
Jack Everett February 23, 2014 at 07:14 AM
This is a disgrace but nothing new. All over America we find our vets being spit on by these people. I have been in and seen these filthy conditions in our veteran hospitals and it looks like the filthy town I live in now. In New London they have not picked up trash in over a week and it just keeps piling up in the streets. Our vets deserve better than lip service by politicians.
RJ March 25, 2014 at 08:42 AM
Too Many Layers of Administration and administrators - Clean House literally and figuratively.

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