GAO: VA Hospitals Struggle With Reusable Medical Equipment
Many VA Medical Centers are unable to effectively reprocess reusable medical equipment, leading some to opt for disposable instruments instead, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.
The Veterans Health Administration, which oversees the centers, is facing ongoing challenges with reprocessing. In 2009, 10,000 veterans found out they might have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV because of improperly reprocessed endoscopes.
In 2011, the GAO found the VHA had not provided enough guidance to ensure reusable medical equipment was being reprocessed properly. And in 2018, the VHA Office of the Medical Inspector determined veterans were experiencing procedure delays and cancellations because of an instrument shortage related to improper reprocessing.
As medical instruments have become more complex, “reprocessing has become more complicated and time consuming,” said Sharon Silas, acting director of the GAO’s health care team.