Overton Brooks VA pharmacy reopens after temporary closure - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Overton Brooks VA pharmacy reopens after temporary closure

(Source: Overton Brooks VA Medical Center) (Source: Overton Brooks VA Medical Center)
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

The pharmacy at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center has reopened after inspectors shut it down temporarily.

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A report released Thursday by the VA Office of Inspector General reveals unsanitary conditions were discovered inside the pharmacy.

According to the report, these conditions could have resulted in contamination of pharmacy products and the infection of patients.

The LA Board of Pharmacy's findings included a lack of proper cleaning of the rooms and unfinished air and surface testing and certification.

The report read in part: 

We confirmed that the facility did not comply with key elements of United States Pharmacopeia (USP), which outlines safe sterile compounding requirements and practices

The problem was originally found in October 2016 by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy.

As inspectors visited Overton Brooks back in January, they reported noncompliance of the USP guidelines for cleaning, environmental monitoring, employee competencies and quality assurance activities.

Cleaning logs from September 2016 through January 27, 2017, reflected 4 days where there was no evidence of appropriate cleaning and mopping of floors. We also found that hand soap and a hazardous spill kit were not available in the sterile compounding areas where hazardous medications are prepared.

Only 18 percent of applicable employees had all the training and competency documentation required as of January 27, 2017. Employees who lack the necessary training and competency could inadvertently prepare compounded sterile products in an unsafe manner, thereby placing patients at risk.

The OIG's report also shows the managers of the pharmacy did not report these inspection findings.

Pharmacy managers did not report the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy’s inspection findings to either facility or Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) leaders, to the facility’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics or Infection Control Committees, or to the facility’s Patient Safety Manager.

The OIG reports Overton Brooks leaders learned of the findings after their unannounced site visit in January. According to the report, the chief of pharmacy service at Overton Brooks retired on March 31.

However, the OIG's report did indicate no patients were infected during this time.

OBVAMC Public Affairs Officer David Gasperson told KSLA portions of the pharmacy were closed for a time while they addressed the OIG's concerns.

Gasperson said the pharmacy has since reopened and he sent this statement today:

"Our patients did not experience any adverse events, interruption in care or impact to Veterans' access while we addressed the findings. We took immediate action by bringing in a nationally recognized Environmental Management Service (EMS) Training Officer to provide hands-on training for staff, training clinical staff to meet all OIG and FDA requirements, and developing detailed standard operating procedures (SOP) for facility safety. We are also working with experts on the national and network level to review all policies before implementation."

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