VA would have to report Legionnaires' and other diseases within 24 hours under legislation
Veterans Affairs health care facilities would have to report within 24 hours cases of Legionnaire's and other major infectious diseases to several agencies, patients and employees under companion legislation introduced Thursday by U.S. Reps. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills.
Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Scranton, earlier this month introduced a Senate version of the bill. Both proposals came as a result of a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak in 2011 and 2012 at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Contaminated water at VA campuses in O'Hara and Oakland sickened as many as 21 veterans.
“You can't manage what you don't measure, which is why our bill establishes a strong framework for VA hospitals to collect and share life-saving information with the CDC and health departments,” Murphy said.
A report by the VA Office of the Inspector General issued April 24 found the Pittsburgh VA did not follow its guidelines in combating the deadly Legionella bacteria. Among other things, the report showed workers failed to test some patients with pneumonia for Legionnaires' disease.
A Trib investigation published in March found VA facilities are under no obligation to report cases of infectious diseases in the way other hospitals do. The House bill would require the VA inspector general to investigate any failure to comply with reporting requirements. An employee who fails to report infectious disease can face suspension, according to the bill.
The disease would have to be reported to the following: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the state and/or county health department, both in which the affected hospital is located and where the individual is a resident; the Veterans Administration in Washington; the patient's primary care provider; the patients and next of kin; all employees at the affected VA facility.
Luis Fábregas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man dies in jump from Route 130 overpass onto passing tractor-trailer in Hempfield
- Starkey: Penguins’ season impressive so far
- Penguins a love affair for Evancho sisters
- Pitt football team working to fatten up QB sack total on defense
- Pirates’ search for division title rests on starting rotation’s health
- Police investigate pair of fatal rush hour incidents in Shaler, Marshall
- Hornqvist’s net-front presence with Penguins could be valuable asset
- Pittsburgh Police charge Allentown couple with abusing pit bull puppy
- The Wine Cellar: Wine can enhance, balance the traditional dishes of Passover, Easter
- Nutrition organization-sponsored conference busts whole-grain myths
- Husband of accused drug-dealing teacher faces his own drug, intimidation charges