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VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System

 

VAAAHS works with Congressional Offices to assure safe, high-quality surgical care to area Veterans

May 24, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 24, 2016

 VA Ann Arbor works with Congressional Offices to assure safe, high-quality surgical care to area Veterans

ANN ARBOR - On May 22, 2016 leaders from the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System met with U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell and Tim Walberg to discuss the recent rescheduling on some surgical procedures in Ann Arbor.  Mrs. Dingell and Mr. Walberg had the opportunity to meet with surgical and sterile processing staff to discuss the intermittent presence of sterile particulate in some surgical trays which has resulted in moving a limited number of surgeries to community partners, including the University of Michigan Health System.

Acting Medical Center Director Dr. Eric Young said that although the Ann Arbor VA has maintained a high volume of surgeries since the repair of a water pipe break adjacent to the sterile processing area last fall, sterile particulate continues to be found in some trays. Through the routine tray inspection process, VA OR staff proactively identify particulate and the tray is removed from use prior to surgery. The health system has brought in a variety of experts over the past months to fully eradicate this problem.   These efforts continue.  However, as a precautionary measure in situations where full back-up instrumentation may not be available if a particulate is found in a tray, a decision was made several weeks ago to move open heart cases to the community.  All actions were taken proactively with the safety of Veterans as our highest priority.

"Our mission is to ensure patient safety and to provide the highest quality of surgical care," said Dr. Bill Kuzon, VAAAHS Chief of Surgery and Reed O. Dingman Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School. "We monitor our outcomes very carefully and I am confident that there has been no increase in surgical site infections or other complications.  Although it has been necessary to delay or cancel cases, we have used all available resources to ensure that our patients continue to receive timely and appropriate care."

VA Ann Arbor understands rescheduling a surgical procedure is a major inconvenience for our Veterans.  We have and will continue to work with each impacted Veteran to arrange their surgery in the community at VA expense or reschedule in VA Ann Arbor as soon as possible.  We offer our apology to each affected Veteran. 

We appreciate the support and guidance of Congresswoman Dingell and Congressman Walberg on this issue and their advocacy for Michigan Veterans.  VA Ann Arbor will continue to aggressively seek solutions while engaging in open, transparent discussions about these challenges and the manner in which we are addressing them.  We want to assure Veterans and stakeholders that the high-quality, safe surgical care and outcomes expected of the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System have continued as we strive to definitively resolve this issue.