Tomah VA dentist under investigation for not meeting cleaning standards resigns

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(WSAW) -- A Tomah VA Medical Center (VAMC) dentist who failed to follow proper infection control procedures has resigned, according to an email from a Tomah VA spokesperson.

In news conference Tuesday, Tomah VA acting medical center director Victoria Brahm said 592 veterans that received dental care from the dentist will receive free screenings for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV after a dental assistant reported the dentist did not properly clean a dental instrument. Brahm said the dentist said the instrument may have been cleaned, but the cleaning did not meet the VA's standards.

Tomah VAMC leadership received the dentist’s resignation just one business day before a Summary Review Board (SRB), used in situations that warrant separation from Federal service, was to be held, Matthew Gowan's emails stated.

“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.”

Brahm said 54 veterans that received care from bridge and crown work received phone calls about the issue. She said the other affected veterans will receive a letter. Brahm reiterated that risk for infection is extremely low. The incident was reported Oct. 20. An investigation began Oct. 21.

Veterans that have questions may call a free 24/7 hotline at 888- 598-7793.