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By Judith Graham
VA Extends New Hepatitis C Drugs to All Veterans in Its Health System

Orange Count Registry
Vietnam vets blame 'jet guns' for their hepatitis C
By Lily Leung Feb. 14, 2016 
CBS News Investigates
Congress outraged over hepatitis C treatment VA can't afford
Dr. Raymond Schinazi played a leading role developing a drug that cures hepatitis C while working seven-eighths of his time for the VA| By amynordrum

Hepatitis C drug costing VA, DoD millions
By Patricia Kime, Staff writer
We're looking at a company who is milking a cash cow for everything it's worth," Sanders said. 

VA to outsource care for 180,000 vets with hepatitis C
Dennis Wagner, The Arizona Republic 12:27 a.m. EDT June 21, 2015

VA to outsource care for 180,000 vets with hepatitis C
, The Republic | 11:51 a.m. MST June 19, 2015
Dr. David Ross, the VA's director public-health pathogens programs, resigned from the working group. "I cannot in good conscience continue to work on a plan for rationing care to veterans," he wrote.

VA Region Stops Referring Patients To Outside Hospitals Thanks To Budget Shortfall
Michael Volpe Contributor ...According to a memo — the entire region has been forced to stop all “non-VA care” referrals due to a budget shortfall.
Sen. Mark Kirk admitted the VA Choice Program is a failed joke in a letter to Secretary Bob McDonald despite attempts to fix it.

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This is the Miami HCV Center of Excellence

Vets had colonoscopies with unsterile equipment
By Matt Sedensky - The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Mar 23, 2009 18:40:39 EDT


MIAMI — Officials say more than 3,000 patients at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Miami had colonoscopies with equipment that wasn’t properly sterilized.

They’ve been told they should be tested for HIV and other diseases.

The VA insists the risk of infection is minimal and only involved tubing on equipment, not any device that actually touched a patient. But it’s the second recent announcement of errors during colonoscopies at VA facilities.

Last month, more than 6,000 patients at a clinic in Tennessee were told they may have been exposed to infectious body fluids during colonoscopies.

  • The VA also said 1,800 veterans treated at an ear, nose and throat clinic in Augusta, Ga., were alerted they could have been exposed to an infection due to improper disinfection of an instrument.


Possible contamination at VA facilities sparks call for inquiry

Contaminated colonoscopy gear may have exposed Florida veterans to hepatitis, HIV
* Florida lawmakers seek inquiry, raise concerns about other facilities
* VA sent letters to people who may have had colonoscopies May 2004 to this month
* Officials say tubing was rinsed but not disinfected, call risk of infection minimal

by Jennifer Pifer Bixler, Elizabeth Cohen and Sabriya Rice

Thousands of veterans in South Florida may have been exposed to hepatitis and HIV because of contaminated equipment after getting colonoscopies at the Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, officials announced Monday.

Two Florida lawmakers are asking for an inspector general's inquiry.

"The VA is a model of the type of health care we provide our veterans, and when mistakes like this occur, it undermines the efficacy of the entire system," said Rep. Kendrick B. Meek, D-Florida, in a news release. Meek, along with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, is requesting an official inquiry by the inspector general of the VA.

In a letter to retired Gen. Eric Shinseki, the secretary of Veterans Affairs, Nelson said he is also concerned about possible contaminated equipment at facilities in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Augusta, Georgia.

"I am requesting that the VA Office of Inspector General begin an investigation into the potential problems of contamination; whether any patient has contracted an infection from unsterilized equipment; and, most importantly, how we can prevent such problems from happening again," Nelson wrote.

"Finally, I urge the VA to commit to providing ongoing medical care in cases where it is responsible for exposing someone to a disease."

On Monday, the VA sent letters to 3,260 people who may have had colonoscopies between May 2004 and March 12, 2009. Hospital officials said a review of safety procedures found that tubing used in endoscope procedures was rinsed but not disinfected.

Officials say the risk of infection is minimal.

"What happened should not have happened. We are taking steps to change it right now," said John Vara, the Miami VA's chief of staff.

The problem at the Miami VA facility comes on the heels of similar problems with endoscopies at the VA clinic in Murfreesboro. In December 2008, an investigation found that clinic workers were not following manufacturer's directions and switched out parts they weren't supposed to switch out, according to investigators. About 6,000 people who underwent colonoscopies at the clinic were notified and offered free testing for infections.

According to Nelson, more than 1,000 veterans also were warned about possible contamination from treatment at the ear, nose and throat clinic at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta.

In Miami, the VA has opened "special care clinics" to test veterans who received the notice and to provide information.

"Screening is strictly precautionary and does not indicate that any patients have contracted a virus," Mary D. Berrocal, director of the Miami VA, said in a statement on the VA's Web site.

The special care clinics opened Tuesday morning, and officials say response from patients has been good. "They are being proactive, and we are glad. We want them to get tested," said Susan Warren, a spokeswoman for the Miami VA facility.