- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 2, 2016

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs report says medical test results for at least 14 military veterans have been erroneously mailed to other patients of the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System.

The letters were processed June 22 at the Marion mailing hub, the Journal Gazette (https://bit.ly/2ap2HpV ) reported.

Deana Bonner, privacy and Freedom of Information Act officer for the VA Medical Center in Michigan, reviewed the incorrect mailings, but couldn’t determine if the error was a result of an equipment malfunction or employee handling.

Bonner said the system should implement a process to evaluate the types of letters that are run through the machinery and ensure that the equipment functions properly.

System director Jay Miller said the system has formed a committee to consider ways to improve mailing procedures.

“We want to look at the whole program and take a real hard look in terms of specifically what we’re mailing out, where we’re mailing out,” Miller said. “I think it’s important to review the whole process.”

Miller said VA officials could consider contracting with a private mailing company or use more electronic communications. The system already uses a private contractor for some of its mailings.

The committee was told that a letter-folding machine may have malfunctioned, the machine operator may have selected the wrong number of pages to be folded or staff may not have sorted letters correctly.

WANE-TV reported July 12 that a Fort Wayne veteran received medical test results meant for two other veterans who are patients of the system.

On July 18, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, called on Miller to investigate and come up with a solution to ensure the incident never happens again. Miller said Bonner’s report had been sent to Donnelly, who said he looks forward to hearing about the system’s plan to protect veterans’ privacy.


Information from: The Journal Gazette, https://www.journalgazette.net

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