Bill targets QA at VA facilities

Spurred by allegations of shoddy work in its brachytherapy program, a U.S. Congressman has introduced legislation that would require improved quality assurance programs at Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers with radiology and radiation oncology departments.

Congressman John Adler (D-NJ) introduced the bill, which seeks to remedy the lack of oversight that occurred at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center and several others with respect to brachytherapy prostate cancer treatment programs.

The legislation proposes that:

  1. All low-volume programs currently operating in VA healthcare facilities will be evaluated, with a report submitted to Congress annually ensuring that they are meeting their safety standards
  2. Every VA employee and independent contractor working in a VA medical facility must be trained to identify what constitutes a medical event and the protocol to report it
  3. Contracts for medical services cannot be renewed until evaluations on that contractor's performance have been performed

The proposed legislation follows hearings held earlier this year by Congress on inadequate supervision and quality control of VA prostate brachytherapy programs throughout the U.S.

Related Reading

NJ rep turns up heat in VA brachytherapy probe, August 27, 2009

6 more botched prostate brachytherapy cases at Philly VA, August 18, 2009

Congress eyes safety of VA prostate brachytherapy: Part 2, August 10, 2009

Congress eyes safety of VA prostate brachytherapy: Part 1, August 6, 2008

NY Times story claims treatment errors at VA brachytherapy unit, June 23, 2009

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