U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Tim Walberg (MI-07) today released the following statement on the ongoing contamination issue at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Dingell and Walberg have been in constant communication with the VA since being alerted that surgeries continue to be canceled or moved to different facilities because particulate matter has been observed on sterile surgical equipment.
“The number one priority for all of us is to ensure that veterans receive the highest quality health care. When we were alerted that the contamination issue at the Ann Arbor VA Hospital continues to persist, we met with Acting Director Eric Young and other members of the senior leadership team last weekend to be briefed on the status of the investigation. We also discussed which experts have been consulted and their findings, what steps are being taken to identify and correct the source of the contamination, what is the impact on patient care, and how we can help. Our responsibility as Members of Congress is to be a voice and advocate for veterans, and we are committed to ensuring that the VA has the resources needed to determine the source of the problem and address it.
“The staff at the Ann Arbor VA is a dedicated group of individuals. This issue came to light because they were doing their job inspecting surgical instruments and discovered the problem. To be clear, it does not appear that the particulate issue has caused an infection or harm to a patient. We believe it is important that, like other hospitals, the VA be open and transparent and report the number of patients that have acquired surgical infections while receiving care at the VA, and the number of surgeries that have been canceled or moved to another hospital. As a result, we will be introducing legislation this week that will increase reporting requirements for VA Hospitals to improve transparency.”