VA investigates COVID-19 staff exposure in Oregon

2019 12 09 17 23 7420 Veterans Affairs Va Seal 400

Investigators from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have determined that there were no communication missteps when a patient with COVID-19 was sent from the emergency department (ED) to radiology at a VA facility in Portland.

The VA received allegations that ED staff at the Portland VA Medical Center failed to alert the radiology department to the possibility that a patient was infected with COVID-19 on referral to the radiology department. The patient was the first individual with COVID-19 treated at the facility.

But an investigation by the VA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation found that emergency department staff did not fail to notify imaging department staff that the patient was suspected to have COVID-19 before sending the patient to the imaging department because the patient's condition had not yet been diagnosed.

The report did identify some mistakes in the medical center's protocols for responding to staff exposure, however, to which the facility responded promptly by taking into account five OIG recommendations "related to communicating infection control precautions prior to transfer," it said.

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