LA JOLLA: VA Pharmacy Gets High Marks Despite Errors
Despite "hundreds of medication errors over a two-year period," the pharmacy at the Veteran Affairs' Medical Center in La Jolla is "an excellent service" that "consists of trained and skilled pharmacists and technicians (who) are meeting and exceeding internal and external customer expectations," VA pharmacy managers have concluded. After a four-day review of records last January, the VA pharmacy investigators revealed that pharmacists at the La Jolla facility made 202 medication errors in 1997 and 241 in 1998, totals "higher than the number of medication errors for the remainder of the entire VA health care system combined from June 1997 through December 1998." Jan Boss, medical center spokesperson, said the report "confirms that [the] pharmacy is doing a fine job." And while the hospital is concerned about the errors, she said "she didn't think there were more at her facility than at other hospitals, whether they are VA or civilian facilities." But former pharmacy worker Sholeh Zayer, who claims she was fired after bringing attention to unreported medication errors, "disputed that all's well" at the pharmacy, saying she documented more than 100 additional medication errors over a four-month period in 1998 that were not included in the report. "It's VA checking VA. They never want to acknowledge anything," she said. Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.), chair of the House Veterans' Affairs oversight subcommittee, requested the investigation after Zayer and other employees accused the hospital pharmacy of "mismanagement" (Brooks, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.