Some Veterans’ Health Jeopordized Due To Poor Infection Control
The Associated Press/MSNBC: VA Infection Issues Lead To 13,000 Veterans' Tests
Herman Williams came home safely after fighting in the jungles of Vietnam as a Marine. He was shocked to learn four decades later that his military service had again placed him in jeopardy - this time, because he got a tooth pulled. Williams is among 13,000 U.S. veterans who have been warned in the last two years that their blood should be tested for potentially fatal infections after possible exposures by improper hygiene practices at five VA hospitals in Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee. This Memorial Day finds the Department of Veterans Affairs under political fire and numerous veterans upset after enduring fear and uncertainty over their health. ... So far, VA officials say, tests on nearly 12,000 patients have found eight HIV-positive results and 61 confirmed cases of hepatitis B or C (Sewell, 5/29).
The Associated Press/NECN: New Head Of Dayton VA Center Wants To Improve Care
The Veterans Affairs hospital executive called out of retirement to lead the troubled Dayton VA medical center doesn't see his mission as just to clean up a mess. Since becoming acting director in March, William Montague has launched an ambitious effort not only to reassure veterans that health safety issues have been resolved, but to upgrade the quality of care and greatly expand the number of veterans served in the southwest-western Ohio region. An executive at six other VA hospitals, the last in Cleveland, Montague was asked to replace the previous director after he was reassigned following a probe that found dental clinic hygiene concerns that led to testing of more than 500 veterans for blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV (5/29).
Sacramento Bee: UCD Med Center Fights Infections; VA Facility Finds Success
Hospitalization too often puts patients at risk. They can contract infections from the insertion, maintenance and removal of urinary catheters as well as central line catheters that are placed in large veins to make it easier to administer medicine and fluids. They can also get sick from a variety of antibiotic-resistant bugs, including Clostridium difficile and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). An estimated 12,000 Californians die annually from these preventable infections, according to state Department of Public Health statistics. ... Behind the statistics are lessons to be learned. Consider two local medical facilities, UC Davis Medical Center and Sacramento's Veterans Affairs Hospital one a tale of trying to overcome trouble, one a tale of success (Creamer, 5/30).
Kaiser Health News: Hospitals Face New Pressure To Cut Infection Rates
Under laws in more than two dozen states and new Medicare rules that went into effect earlier this year, hospitals are required to report infections, risking their reputations as sterile sanctuaries, or pay a penalty. That's left hospital administrators weighing the cost of 'fessing up against the cost of fines. For Clark Todd, CEO of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, there's only one way to go: "If we hide from the public then the tendency to keep the status quo is stronger than ever," he said. "And that's just not going to get the job done" (Varney, 5/28).