VA center’s problems far from solved

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VA center’s problems far from solved

Canton Repository – More questions than answers were in evidence Tuesday as U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown tried to get a handle on how operations at the Dayton VA Medical Center went so terribly awry, putting thousands of veterans at risk of contracting serious diseases.

The lack of answers at the hearing led to this key question from Brown: “If you’re not sure how this happened … what assures us that this won’t happen other places?”

You may recall the revelations last year that a dentist working at the Veterans Affairs facility in Dayton had routinely failed to wash his hands, change his gloves or sterilize equipment between patients for at least 18 years.

A report from the VA inspector general’s office, released a day before Brown’s hearing, said managers knew of the problems but didn’t respond correctly, and many employees didn’t complete required annual infection-control training.

At the hearing itself, Brown was short-circuited by the absence of key executives who retired soon after word of the problems started to get around. U.S. Rep Mike Turner of Dayton responded that their absence does tell investigators one thing: The system allows evasion of accountability through the “escape hatch” of retirement. The dentist, now 81, also has retired. Those who did testify at the hearing couldn’t or wouldn’t explain how such serious lapses could go unaddressed for so long.

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