Pittsburgh Veterans Hospital Allegedly Falsified Records and Concealed Positive Test Results for Legionnaires Disease
Exactly why the water-borne bacteria wasn’t effectively dealt with at the Pittsburgh VA hospital remains unanswered even after Congressional hearings on February 5, 2013. The chairman of the company a water treatment system used by the VA said his employees found “obvious evidence that there were maintenance shortcomings” on a December 2011 visit. LiquiTech chairman Steve Schira also testified that VA staff acknowledged maintenance wasn’t being performed as required. They also found a VA staffer falsifying the levels of copper – an important bacteria-killing element – in the equipment in April 2013.
Dr. Lauri Hicks, a CDC epidemiologist, said in her testimony that the CDC found “a highly pathogenic strain of Legionella in the potable water system” for two years, and claimed the metal levels in the LiquiTech system were appropriate for controlling Legionella, but weren’t doing so. Enrich Products, Inc., which reviewed the LiquiTech system last year testified that the VA had refused to release Legionella test results, and that Enrich would have ordered more testing and cleaning if it had known of the positive tests.
U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., said the Congressional hearing raised more questions than it answered. Doyle insists the VA needs to address the allegations of concealed test results and faulty maintenance promptly.