The dentist involved in possibly infecting nearly 600 veterans at the Tomah VA has resigned.
Late Friday afternoon, the VA said in a statement that the resignation came one business day before a meeting of the Summary Review Board (SRB) was scheduled. The SRB is used in situations, according to the VA, that warrant separation from Federal service.
On Tuesday, the VA's acting director, Victoria Brahm, said that 592 veterans receiving dental care from the dentist were possibly exposed to serious infections such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, or HIV. Brahm said the patients were seen by the dentist between October 2015 and October 2016. During the veteran's treatment, Brahm said, the dentist chose to use his own equipment and failed to properly sterilize that equipment used on patients, all in violation of the VA's rules.
“Although we cannot prevent the dentist from resigning while administrative actions are pending, we are continuing reporting procedures to the State Licensing Board and the National Practitioner Data Bank,” said Brahm. “We will not stop doing all we can to ensure those responsible for this serious breach of patient trust are held accountable.”
The dentist still has not been officially named.
The VA said they've notified the veterans who had treatment from the dentist and offered preventative screening.
Brahm said any veterans receiving dental care at the VA during the past year can call 1-888-598-7793 to get information regarding screening. The phone line is available 24/7.
A special clinic is opening to serve veterans who need lab work completed. The hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in building 400.
Brahm said any veterans found to be infected following their screenings will have all care provided for at no charge by the VA.