Male nurse pushing stretcher gurney bed in hospital corridor with doctors & senior female patient

A new federal report says Department of Veterans Affairs officials failed to provide housekeeping staff at the VA Medical Center in Loma Linda, California, with adequate training, possibly contributing to an increase in potentially deadly infections at the facility.

Kristen Hall, spokeswoman for the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System, told The Sun reporters that responsiveness to environment-of-care concerns is a shared responsibility between leadership, service chiefs and staff. New daily huddles between leadership and staff have resulted in a more rapid response to environment-of-care needs, Hall said.

The inspection largely focused on the overall cleanliness of treatment, nutrition and waiting areas, as well as patient rooms.

Inspectors found that the medical center was not clean, its furnishings were in need of repair, and its Environmental Management Services Department did not have standard operating procedures for cleaning and sanitizing the facility. The report said that housekeeping department leaders did not evaluate the level of competency of the staff to ensure they had the knowledge and skills to properly perform their duties.

That lack of training may have contributed, over a two-year period, to an increase in Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that can cause diarrhea and life-threatening inflammation of the colon, inspectors found.

The Loma Linda facility was also in the news recently when Department of Veterans Affairs  officials confirmed allegations that VA executives concealed a Legionella outbreak at the  medical center.