Ohio senator calls for VA dental clinic probe

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is calling for a Senate hearing on the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Dayton, OH, in response to an announcement that 535 veterans may have contracted hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV as a result of poor infection control practices.

Last week, the Dayton VAMC issued a report indicating that several employees may have known that a practitioner was using unhygienic practices for 18 years, exposing veterans to blood-borne pathogens because dental equipment was not sterilized.

"We have promised the men and women of our armed forces that if they risk their lives to defend our country, we will provide them with the benefits they have earned, including high-quality medical care," Brown said in a statement on his website. "It is shocking that over 500 veterans may have risked their lives, not only on the battlefield, but in the VA health system."

In a letter to Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Brown requested a hearing to investigate this situation and identify preventive actions that would ensure that a situation like this never arises again.

Last year, Brown sent a letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki urging the VA to investigate the complaints at the VAMC. Brown has spoken with Shinseki and VAMC officials repeatedly, urging them to correct any issues and install effective leadership.

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