CBS12 News Investigates Part 2: Allegations of neglect at VA
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) —
A source, who did not want to be identified, from inside the West Palm Beach V.A. Medical Center gave us photos and video clips of medical equipment and patient rooms left filthy and what he said is biohazard material not disposed of properly.
He also spoke with patients who talked with him about how they were treated.
"I feel bad, I feel terrible,” the source said. “I don't like seeing a veteran being left alone with no care."
He showed us what he called issues with cross contamination, filth, and neglect.
That same type of neglect was found during a privately contracted inspection from Long Term Care Institute in March.
CBS12 News Investigates obtained those documents which shows inspectors cited staff at the West Palm VA for letting residents sit for hours in soiled sheets, a bloodied boot, and with bedsores.
The report reads in part:
Staff failed to medicate a resident who appeared to be writhing in pain during wound treatment and dressing changes And inspectors found another resident crying out in pain.
CBS12 News Investigates contacted the VA for comment.
They agreed to show us the areas in the photos regarding cross contamination, but when we asked about the complaints from veterans, they declined to interview.
However, they did send us statements via email.
The West Palm Beach VA Medical Center is committed to providing our Veterans with the highest quality health care and services in a clean and safe environment. We are also committed to continuous improvement and include Veterans and their families in our decision-making processes. When we learn that we may have fallen short of our patients expectations, we take those concerns seriously and determine how we can improve.
One of the actions we take to ensure we maintain a safe and healing environment includes conducting joint clinical and environmental management staff walking rounds. For the safety of our patients we adhere to established policies to include those that address hand hygiene and biohazard waste disposal that staff members are mandated to follow.
We have an active Patient and Family Advisory Committee, chaired by a Veteran, that helps us make ethical and responsible decisions on behalf of our patients. We also have a Community Living Center’s Resident Council that provides feedback to our leadership team on how we can help Veterans who reside in our facility feel at home, safe and cared for with dignity. Based on their feedback, we recently began offering room service to our inpatients so they have fresh, cooked to order food of their choosing. The medical center has, and always will, take every measure possible to enhance the Veteran experience and provide a safe healing environment. If at any time a Veteran or their families are concerned about their health care experience or safety, we encourage them to contact our Patient Advocate Team at 561-422-8600.
RESPONSE TO SOURCE’S PHOTOS AND VIDEO
The person who filmed this video appears to be engaging in repeated violations of VA policies and procedures with respect to both cleanliness and patient confidentiality.
These unacceptable actions are consistent with those of a former West Palm Beach VA Medical Center employee who recently resigned after being confronted about repeatedly filming work areas he was assigned to clean instead of actually cleaning them.
At the West Palm Beach VAMC, we maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and patient confidentiality. When employees fail to uphold to these standards, they are disciplined appropriately.