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Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

Deficiencies in Select Community Care Consult (Stat) Processes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a national review of stat community care consults generated during the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic to evaluate consult processes. Patient involvement in care urgency disagreements and reporting of adverse events in community care were also reviewed. When the OIG identified deficiencies in processes, electronic health records (EHRs) of the patients at issue were further examined for potential negative outcomes. The OIG did not identify any negative care outcomes. For the 2,236 stat community care consults generated from March 20, 2020...

Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

Failure to Mitigate Risk of and Manage a COVID-19 Outbreak at a Community Living Center at VA Illiana Health Care System in Danville, Illinois

The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted an inspection at the VA Illiana Health Care System in Danville, Illinois, to determine the validity of allegations, specific to COVID-19 and the Community Living Center (CLC), of failure to observe infection control practices, failure to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19, inconsistent ongoing testing, and failure to notify residents, families, and staff of positive test results. During the inspection, the OIG identified concerns related to leaders’ post-outbreak actions. The OIG substantiated a failure to observe general infection control...

Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

Care Concerns and the Impact of COVID-19 on a Patient at the Fayetteville VA Coastal Health Care System in North Carolina

The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a healthcare inspection at the Fayetteville VA Coastal Health Care System in North Carolina to assess concerns related to the quality, coordination, and timeliness of care, and the impact of COVID-19 on a patient with unintentional weight loss who was later diagnosed with oral cancer and died at another VA medical center. The OIG substantiated that the primary care provider and dietitians did not provide quality care to the patient. The primary care provider’s failure to follow-up on an earlier finding and not place an order for a medical test...

Department of Homeland Security OIG

Lessons Learned from FEMA’s Initial Response to COVID-19

The objective was to determine how effectively FEMA supported and coordinated Federal efforts to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We determined that FEMA did not have reliable data to inform allocation decisions and ensure accurate adjudication of resource requests, it did not have a process to allocate the limited supply of PPE, and FEMA’s strategic documents did not clearly outline roles and responsibilities to lead the Federal response. We made three recommendations that FEMA improve the reliability of WebEOC, formally...

Department of Homeland Security OIG

DHS Needs to Enhance Its COVID-19 Response at the Southwest Border

The objective of this review was to determine to what extent the Department of Homeland Security has implemented COVID-19 measures for migrants at the southwest border. We reported that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not conduct COVID-19 testing for migrants who enter CBP custody and is not required to do so. Instead, CBP relies on local public health systems to test symptomatic individuals. According to CBP officials, as a frontline law enforcement agency, it does not have the necessary resources to conduct such testing. For migrants that are transferred or released from CBP...

Department of Homeland Security OIG

Violations of ICE Detention Standards at Otay Mesa Detention Center

During our unannounced inspection of Otay Mesa in San Diego, California, we identified violations of ICE detention standards that compromised the health, safety, and rights of detainees. Otay Mesa complied with standards for classification and generally provided sufficient medical care to detainees. In addressing COVID-19, Otay Mesa did not consistently enforce precautions including use of facial coverings and social distancing. Overall, we found that Otay Mesa did not meet standards for grievances, segregation, or staff-detainee communications. Specifically, Otay Mesa did not respond timely...

Department of Homeland Security OIG

ICE’s Management of COVID-19 in Its Detention Facilities Provides Lessons Learned for Future Pandemic Responses

ICE has taken various actions to prevent the pandemic’s spread among detainees and staff at their detention facilities. At the nine facilities we remotely inspected, these measures included maintaining adequate supplies of PPE such as face masks, enhanced cleaning, and proper screening for new detainees and staff. However, we found other areas in which detention facilities struggled to properly manage the health and safety of detainees. For example, we observed instances where staff and detainees did not consistently wear face masks or socially distance. In addition, we noted that some...

Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

Deficiencies in COVID-19 Screening and Facility Response for a Patient Who Died at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas

The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a healthcare inspection regarding allegations of incompletely screening for COVID-19 and treatment of a patient with serious mental illness who presented for same-day care at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (facility). The OIG substantiated that facility staff did not complete the patient’s COVID-19 temperature screening. The OIG substantiated that facility staff failed to medically manage the patient with COVID-19 symptoms, sent the patient to the drive-through testing area without medical evaluation, and did not isolate the patient...

Department of Homeland Security OIG

CBP Needs to Strengthen Its Oversight and Policy to Better Care for Migrants Needing Medical Attention

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) needs better oversight and policy to adequately safeguard migrants experiencing medical emergencies or illnesses along the southwest border. CBP concurred with all three of our recommendations, which when implemented, should improve medical attention and procedures for migrants at the southwest border

Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

Use and Oversight of the Emergency Caches Were Limited during the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The OIG assessed how effectively VA managed its emergency caches during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. These caches contain a standard supply of drugs and medical supplies, including some personal protective equipment, for use during a public health emergency. The review team found that use and oversight of the emergency caches were limited. Only nine of 144 medical facilities activated their emergency caches during the review period (February through June 2020). Among the reasons they were not used included medical facility directors reporting supplies were not needed...