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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.
Jeanne February 19, 2014 at 05:08 PM
Our veterans deserve the best. How very sad to find that they are not getting get it here.
Janice Rossi February 19, 2014 at 05:26 PM
They should be cleaned as if the next patient's the President.
Robert D. Hoff February 19, 2014 at 06:47 PM
I watched this story on last nights news and they stated that the VA acknowledges the situation and that the conditions would be rectified by March. As the proud son of a Viet Nam era veteran and former employee of the West Haven VA in my opinion,the unsanitary conditions should have NEVER been allowed to exist in the first place as our veterans who have given so much in service to our country deserve the very best,not excuses. God bless all those who have served and those who proudly serve. It is because of your efforts our country is as great as it is and to have unsanitary conditions exist at this facility is disgraceful.
J D C February 19, 2014 at 07:04 PM
Deplorable.
Thomas Alegi February 20, 2014 at 01:37 AM
To fulfill President Lincoln's promise "To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan" by serving and honoring the men and women who are America's veterans.” The most basic obligation we have to our veterans is that we keep the promises that were made to them. That is what makes the recent failures at the West Haven VA hospital so shameful.
Bob February 20, 2014 at 06:23 AM
If the government cares this much about the Vets, just think how much they will care about YOU under obamacare.
REVMAN February 20, 2014 at 06:54 AM
As a Vet I can't believe this could happen BUT look at THIS administration. Isn't Sen. Blumenthal a VIET NAM VET????
Christopher Schaefer February 20, 2014 at 07:27 AM
Because of ObamaCare, which Rosa DeLauro called her “proudest vote”, and the resulting massive defunding of our state hospital system, such conditions are becoming standard. However, failed inspections of public hospitals don’t make the news because inspections are performed by the Joint Commission (jointcommission.org) which does not release its findings to the general public or media. However, ask any medical staff member of a state hospital (e.g. Yale-New Haven) and they’ll confirm that failed inspections are not uncommon. Thanks to DeLauro, our state hospital system is becoming like a third-world system. Of course, you won’t hear DeLauro decrying this development—because she bears much of the responsibility for it. Also note how her letter is careful to make reference to “the brave men and women who sacrificed for our country”. November elections will be here before you know it and DeLauro needs to continue fooling everyone with her feigned “concern”—including veterans—to maintain her lucrative office-for-life. search Rosa DeLauro Exposed for more
Lou Sknt February 20, 2014 at 07:33 AM
It is a disgrace. But the conditions have been deplorable at Va hospitals under every administration since Nixon. The only thing that changes is the portrait in the lobby. I says.
Irene Pudel February 20, 2014 at 08:00 AM
This is an example of government run health care...and for our citizens who risked their lives for our so-called Democracy...if this is how they treat our soldiers, how are they going to treat our populace?? Makes you take pause...
Jane Butler February 20, 2014 at 08:55 AM
I briefly worked at the VA in Philadelphia in the late 70's. It was pretty bad there. The place was dirty and the patients got substandard care. Any time you get the government involved things deteriorate. It was sad. Money is certainy an issue but there was a bad attitude among the workers; poor work ethic. Our vets deserve the best! I agree with you, Irene. I tried to suggest this but many are blind to the truth... Pray for our country.
DM February 20, 2014 at 09:57 AM
This is the norm at VA hospitals across the country sadly. What biz does the gov't ever run efficiently and well!?
Gary Diamond February 20, 2014 at 11:35 AM
Very Sad, but i have seen it happen in our regular hospitals here in CT. as well, if you have the exact procedure done in two different hospitals and compare, you may be shocked. Remember were in Afghanistan because China put nukes in Pakistan, another reason to hate China, but instead we give them our jobs, and they cause us more wars that have no end
Thomas Alegi February 20, 2014 at 11:48 AM
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 (Hartford, CT) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued a statement in response to an Inspector General’s report that identified unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the VA Hospital in West Haven. Blumenthal will meet with hospital administrators Friday. “I am deeply concerned and troubled by this Inspector General's report, which I have reviewed. “The deficiencies revealed at this facility put veterans at real risk. These alarming failings in essential protections against infection and improper care are simply intolerable. Unsafe and unsanitary conditions at this hospital potentially exposed patients and staff to contagious disease through contamination from other patients and lack of complete cleaning of equipment – violating basic conditions of adequate care. Our veterans deserve nothing less than the best, world class medicine this nation has to offer – at the West Haven Hospital and every VA facility. “As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I will insist that these deficiencies be addressed – immediately and permanently. I will also demand that an aggressive, proactive verification and oversight program be implemented – a program that seems to be lacking in the report. “My hope is that this situation is an aberration – an isolated instance of problematic care that fails to reflect the dedicated, able work of caregivers throughout the VA. But, clearly and urgently, follow-up oversight and scrutiny are necessary. “I will be visiting the West Haven Hospital this Friday morning, asking for an update on progress in remedying these urgent issues.”
Daniella Ruiz February 20, 2014 at 01:05 PM
REVMAN >> nice one!!! Bloomy and his 'alleged' combat involvement quip won't be dismissed by the vets. while the country panders to municipal/police/trade unions for extended benefits, cushy cushy pensions deals and hugs green card /HB1 aplicants as if they were gold card members, these tired/broken old vets get a used bandaid and a push out the door. sad, what this country could have been!
Mike Liso February 20, 2014 at 01:52 PM
As for your comment, Lou Sknt, I think your quite wrong. I've had a couple of surgeries at the VA and have had no aftermath problems. I swear by the VA hospital and maybe the news media should look into conditions at private hospitals
Thomas Alegi February 20, 2014 at 07:40 PM
Lou Sknt and Mike Liso, like any private hospital or company there are always going to be a few incompetent employees (bad apples); the VA hospital in West Haven is not exempt. The sad thing is that a few incompetent VA employees have brought a dark cloud over the West Haven VA hospital…… The media did report on a patent that fell of the operating table at Yale New Haven hospital and the three patents that died on the operating table at St. Raphael’s hospital, just to mention a few negative events at local private hospitals.
Ajack February 20, 2014 at 11:22 PM
It's only going to get better right? Now that politicians are getting involved with it right? Rosa Deville ought to retire. Bloomingsmall should quit while he is ahead. He does nothing , makes noise but does nothing.Consummate politician. Didn't do a hell of a lot as Attorney General. Now he really isn't doing much for us as our Senilator. He hides too much behind Chuck Shumer. Looks and acts like he isn't sure of himself.
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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