NEW INFORMATION: Tomah VA says dentist at center of contamination scare has resigned
The dentist accused of being involved in a contamination scare at the Tomah VA Medical Center has resigned.
In a release late Friday afternoon, a spokesman for the facility said that leaders there received the dentist's resignation earlier in the day. It's effective immediately. A review board was set to look into possible discipline for the dentist on Monday. The Tomah VA has not released his name.
"...we are continuing reporting procedures to the State Licensing Board and the National Practitioner Data Bank,” acting director Victoria Brahm said in the release. “We will not stop doing all we can to ensure those responsible for this serious breach of patient trust are held accountable.”
On Tuesday, the center announced that 592 veterans may be infected with Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV. Those veterans received care from the same dentist. The Tomah VA said that dentist was caught using his own tools, then cleaning and reusing them. Dental providers have to use sterile and disposable equipment per VA policy.
On Wednesday, 24 of those veterans came in for blood testing. The VA said it could take two or three weeks before it receives results. The VA also said it will treat the veterans for free if their tests come back positive. The center calls the screenings precautionary, saying there is no indication that any patients have contracted an infection. Veterans can ask questions by calling (888) 598-7793. The center also has a designated follow-up testing site in Building 400, Room #1054 on the Tomah VA campus. It's open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until noon. The site will be open until Dec. 22 and will be closed on holidays.
TOMAH, Wis. (TOMAH VA NEWS RELEASE) - A Tomah VA Medical Center (VAMC) dentist who failed to follow proper infection control procedures has resigned.
Tomah VAMC leadership received the dentist’s resignation just one business day before a Summary Review Board (SRB), used in situations that warrant separation from Federal service, was to be held.
“Due to the egregious nature of this dentist’s actions, the Summary Review Board was the most appropriate procedure to utilize for disciplinary action,” said Victoria Brahm, Tomah VAMC acting director. “We are required by 38 USC Chapter 74 to follow due process procedures that are outlined in VA Handbooks 5021, 1100.19 and 1100.17. The law states that employees subject to a Summary Review Board must be given 10 to 14 calendar days notice in writing that the board will be conducted. We provided the required notice that the Summary Review Board was scheduled for Monday, Dec. 5. However, the dentist chose instead to resign, effective immediately.”
“Although we cannot prevent the dentist from resigning while administrative actions are pending, we are continuing reporting procedures to the State Licensing Board and the National Practitioner Data Bank,” said Brahm. “We will not stop doing all we can to ensure those responsible for this serious breach of patient trust are held accountable.”
Tomah VAMC notified 592 Veterans they are eligible to obtain free screenings for possible infections as a result of the dentist’s actions. Those dental patients affected may call 1-888-598-7793 seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Special arrangements have been established to provide notified Veterans with a safe, easy, and private environment to obtain follow-up testing. The Clinic is in Building 400 Room # 1054 on the Tomah VA Medical Center Campus and will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon (excluding holidays). This clinic will be open until December 22, 2016. Notified Veterans are requested to call the number above for an appointment.
The Tomah VA Medical Center emphasizes that screening is strictly precautionary. There is no indication any patients have contracted an infection.