Secretary of Veterans Affairs Responds To IPVM InvestigationBy 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.
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.
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.
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