NJ rep turns up the heat in VA brachy probe

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

August 27, 2009 -- A U.S. congressman is asking the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for a status update regarding the agency's investigation of treatment errors in its brachytherapy program for prostate cancer patients.

In a letter sent August 25 to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, Rep. John Adler (D-NJ), a member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, called on the VA to provide Congress with a comprehensive report and complete accounting of the errors that occurred in the Philadelphia VA Medical Center's brachytherapy program.

The program was shut down in June 2008 when treatment errors were discovered. Subsequent investigation identified 92 patients who had been overdosed or underdosed or who had received a dose in an inappropriate location, and an additional six patients were identified by the VA in August. Both houses of Congress have held hearings, one by the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs' subcommittee on oversight and investigations, in which Adler participated and was the most vocal critic.

In his letter, Adler directly criticized the VA for its lack of oversight and supervision, which he attributed to being "the biggest failure" at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. He requested that the VA increase its oversight of independent contractors and conduct a full evaluation of the methods it uses in contracting with medical institutions for clinical personnel throughout the country.

Adler requested a status update of the investigations that VA officials said they were undertaking at a July 22 hearing.

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

Copyright © 2009 AuntMinnie.com

 

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