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New federal report says VA isn’t properly tracking orthopedic implant devices

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Veterans with implantable devices may be missing out on important safety information.

A new federal report says the Veterans Administration isn't properly tracking implants.

The report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Veteran's Health Administration doesn't independently track orthopedic implant devices. So, if a device is recalled, patients may not be properly notified.

The report found concerns with how the VA tracks some implant devices. It found the VA tracks cardiac implant devices, like pacemakers, independent of patient records. However, it also found the tracking system isn't the same for orthopedic implant devices, like knee or hip replacements.

The GAO said that if a device is recalled it would take the VA extensive time to notify patients for safety concerns, which could put veterans' health at risk. The office recommends the VA track orthopedic devices outside of patient records the same way it tracks cardiac devices.

The VA told KRDO 13 Investigates it is addressing the report and is considering implementing the cardiac device tracking system to all devices. The VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System told us the following.

VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System tracks all implantable medical devices from the point we receive the device through the duration of use. VA ECHCS patients with these implants should be reassured that we have the appropriate information and database associated with each product to track each one to the Veteran each is associated with. With this data we can notify our patients with these devices if issues or recalls arise.

VA ECHCS has a Facility Implant Coordinator whose role is to maintain oversight and tracking for these products and ensure we maintain the highest quality standards.

VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System
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