Thursday, January 18th

The watchdog agency for the federal Department of Veterans Affairs says staff at the Tomah VA Medical Center failed to report a dentist who used improperly sterilized equipment for more than nine months and found surprise inspections could have alerted hospital leaders sooner.

The findings are contained in a report released Thursday by Office of Inspector General on its investigation into the lapse in hygiene, which could have exposed hundreds of veterans to bloodborne infections, including HIV and hepatitis.

In November, the Tomah VA asked nearly 600 patients to get screenings after learning of the violations. Spokesman Matthew Gowan said as of Thursday more than 90 percent of those patients had been tested with no confirmed infections.