Secretary of Veterans Affairs Responds To IPVM Investigation

By Donald Maye, Published Nov 13, 2020, 08:51am EST

Veterans Affairs Secretary, Robert Wilkie, caused more concern about the VA’s screening protocols and their use of thermal cameras when questioned by the Military Times about the VA’s use of thermal screening systems raised by IPVM's investigation.

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As previously reported by IPVM, the VA is using at least 12 different temperature / fever screening systems throughout its healthcare network.

VA Secretary Addresses IPVM Report

IPVM raised serious concerns about the lack of standardization in the procurement of at least 12 different thermal screening devices, with emphasis placed on unreliable, low-cost temperature screening tablets, like the deceptive Meridian tablet.

Secretary Wilkie responded to the Military Times alluding to knowing people's temperatures even before they enter their building:

Remember, we have redundancy in the system,” he said. "We not only have temperature checks, but we ask a series of questions. We do multiple screenings before anybody enters into a facility.

I certainly haven’t heard of any problems with any of our thermometers out there. We use a variety. Some hospitals, they know your temperature before you even step inside the building, because they have other sensors … I haven’t heard any complaints or any problems with the temperature checks.

IPVM contacted the VA to ask by what means the VA knows temperatures before people enter a building. They did not respond.

We know of no reliable nor FDA nor IEC approved means to do so or 'other sensors' that can accurately do this outdoors.

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No Complaints Excuse

Additionally, not hearing "complaints" or "problems" is consistent with how many devices IPVM tested are using compensating algorithms to auto-correct temperature readings to normal ranges. Thus, a screener will never know if a subject is actually febrile and in need of a secondary measurement as the person will walk by with a 'normal' reading.

Concerns Still Not Addressed

As of today, over 9,500 active COVID cases are reported in the VA healthcare network. Deploying poorly implemented, unreliable temperature screening systems give patients and staff a false sense of security while resulting in false negatives missing fevers.

Donald Maye is a former active duty U.S. Army Field Artillery Officer and 2007 graduate of the United States Military Academy.

1 report cite this report:

The Security Industry, West Point, and Ethics on Jul 16, 2021
Attending the United States Military Academy at West Point you are taught...

Comments (6)

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Well from the results of the Marine Corp recruit study the VA buying these devices was a huge waste of money that could have been used to support our veterans instead. They know your temperature before you even walk in? I am going to stop there as I really don't like getting political!

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"A huge waste of money" When has the government ever been guilty of that?

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Always have been and always will.

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Pretty much the same way the VA responds to any criticism.

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So, which one is the most reliable system available on the market?

We have been reading about many that are not reliable. Which one is reliable?

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None of them, really. These are only "effective" when combined with multiple other layers of protection, notably contact tracing, secondary screening, social distancing, PPE, remote work policies, hand sanitization policies/access, and others. It's a big mistake to use this as the only screening tool unless you're going for "feels secure" rather than "is secure."

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