John Cochran VA Hospital: Still Needs Improvement


John Cochran VA Hospital has generated more than its fare share of complaints over the years about the treatment veterans receive. The hospital temporarily suspended all surgeries last year after an inspection revealed dirty surgical equipment. Then there was the improperly cleaned dental equipment that potentially exposed 1,800 vets to HIV back in 2010. The 2007 Riverfront Times story "Careless Care" investigated several veterans' claims of lax medical care.

And Monday the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General released its latest report in response to allegations of poor care in the hemodialysis (HD) unit.

The Inspector General's investigation determined that a licensed practical nurse did not report changes in one HD unit patient's condition as was required, but it did not find proof that a second patient in the complaint received substandard care.

The report did list several other problems, however.
"The HD unit had multiple problems that required improvement. The unit was lacking a strong leadership presence in the nurse manager and charge nurse roles. It was difficult to differentiate between the role of the RNs and the LPNs. There was no defined responsibility for the charge nurse and no policy for reporting events to the charge nurse or a physician."
Ultimately the Inspector General's investigation yielded six recommendations for the HD unit that include explicit delineation of duties for RNs and LPNs, that a process for determining the competency of RNs and LPNs be developed and put into practice, and that John Cochran's human resources department evaluate the "accuracy of job descriptions, the use of leave and potential scheduling issues."

The report notes that John Cochran's director agrees with all of these recommendations. You can read the entire report here.

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