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More safety lapses at VA hospitals, feds report

Miami Herald, May 4, 2011

More than two years after thousands of veterans were put at risk of disease from lax sterilization practices at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals, federal inspectors said Tuesday that weaknesses still existed, posing "potential safety risks to veterans." The Government Accountability Office report came as furious lawmakers at a House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing pressed a top VA official for answers, accusing the agency of stonewalling Congress. The hearing came in response to continuing problems with improperly cleaned medical equipment at VA facilities across the country. In Miami, thousands of veterans were notified starting in 2009 that they might be at risk of disease after colonoscopies at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Similar problems in VA facilities in Augusta, GA, and Murfreesboro, TN, brought the total of potentially affected veterans to more than 11,000.