The U.S. Veterans Affairs Department's reprocessing requirements for reusable medical equipment are “inadequate” and could create safety risks for veterans who are treated at its medical centers, according to the Government Accountability Office.
VA equipment-reprocessing requirements 'inadequate,' GAO says
The May 3 report (PDF) shows the results of the GAO's audit of two VA reprocessing requirements.
One requirement calls for VA medical centers to develop device-specific training for staff to use when reprocessing reusable medical equipment. The GAO reported that the VA does not provide medical centers with information about which reusable medical equipment requires training.
It also said the VA provides conflicting guidance to medical centers about training development, such as whether officials should develop training closely aligned with the manufacturer's guidelines or written in a format more easily understood by staff.
In addition, the GAO said that the VA's oversight of the medical centers' compliance with its reprocessing requirements shows “weaknesses.”
The agency recommends that the VA develop “standardized training for reprocessing all critical and semi-critical” reusable medical equipment for the medical centers, and then hold them accountable on implementation. It also recommends that the VA identify and improve noncompliance at the medical centers.
The VA supports the recommendations, according to the report.
The GAO audited six VA medical centers in Albany, N.Y.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Detroit; Miami; Palo Alto, Calif.; and St. Louis. The audit began in March 2010 and ended in May.
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