Proposed bill follows VA infection-control scandal

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) is introducing federal legislation that would let the government fine and imprison for up to one year U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Health Administration employees who intentionally fail to follow infection-control practices, according to a story in the Dayton Daily News.

Turner is introducing the bill following revelations early this year that hundreds of veterans were put at risk by alleged poor infection-control practices at the Dayton VA Medical Center's dental clinic in Ohio.

In February 2011, the VA notified 535 veterans that they may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV by Dwight Pemberton, DDS, between 1992 and 2010. Of these, 507 have been tested; two patients tested positive for new cases of hepatitis B, and one patient tested positive for hepatitis C. There have been no new cases of HIV identified in the 535 patients, according to the VA.

Dr. Pemberton, 81, retired in February, before the VA took disciplinary action against him. He has denied the allegations against him.

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