Tuberculosis Cases At Illinois VA Hospitals

Tuberculosis Hines VA Hospital

Benjamin KrauseOne Chicago VA hospital just announced to employees that at least three cases of tuberculosis were confirmed recently and assessed for possible risk of outbreak across Illinois.

Hines VA Hospital chief Lynette Taylor sent an announcement to her employees concerning the possibility but failed to also consider notifying veterans possibly impacted at the same time. One concerned whistleblower at the facility forwarded the email notice so I could push it out to inform readers. The facility concluded:

Given the geographical distribution and timeframes of the patients’ diagnoses, our Infectious Disease Specialist does not have reason to believe these infections are related. 

RELATED: Deadly Cardiovascular Care Exposed At Hines VA Hospital

Veterans seen at the following three locations should ask their doctor about risk factors:

  • Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital
  • LaSalle Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC)
  • Aurora CBOC

In the recent past, Hines VA Hospital also found Legionella at the facility, which can cause serious illness and death in patients who are infected. The facility was delayed in informed veterans of that risk as well.

RELATED: CDC Tuberculosis Fact Sheet


Dear Staff,

As a healthcare organization, we are here to keep our Veterans healthy and to treat and care for them when they are at their sickest.  We do that with the knowledge, that as health care workers, we may be exposed to many different sources of infection in the course of treating our Veterans. However, we do have standard precautions that represent the minimum infection prevention that apply to all patient care:  1) hand hygiene, 2) use of personal protective equipment (e.g., gloves, gowns, facemasks), depending on the anticipated exposure, 3) respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, 4) safe injection prac­tices, and 5) safe handling of potentially contaminated equipment or surfaces in the patient environment.  As your Acting Hospital Director, the health and safety of all of our staff is a top priority.

In late December 2015, our Infection Control Program identified three separate individual Veterans who receive care at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, the LaSalle Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC), and the Aurora CBOC, had been diagnosed with Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB). 

The Veteran in Aurora was diagnosed with pulmonary TB at a non-VA healthcare facility in July 2015.  Hines was notified of his diagnosis during his general medicine visit at the Aurora CBOC on December 22, 2015.  The Veteran in LaSalle was diagnosed with pulmonary TB at a non-VA healthcare facility in November 2015.  A family member notified the LaSalle CBOC of the patient’s diagnosis in December 2015.  The Veteran receiving care at the main Hines VA Hospital campus was diagnosed on December 28, 2015 during his VA appointment. 

Tuberculosis is transmitted through droplet aerosolization by an individual with active pulmonary disease.  Transmission of TB is a recognized risk to patients and healthcare workers in healthcare settings.  While we are confident that the exposure risk to patients and staff is low, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Hines VA Hospital are taking this issue seriously and are working to ensure high quality of care and the safety of our Veterans and employees.

Upon learning of these TB cases, we immediately engaged a multidisciplinary team of experts from Infectious Disease, Nursing, Infection Control, Employee Health, Occupational Safety, and Human Resources staff to track and manage the incident.  We have been in communication with the respective County Health Departments, to obtain information regarding the community diagnosed patients, and to notify them of the individual diagnosed at Hines. 

Given the geographical distribution and timeframes of the patients’ diagnoses, our Infectious Disease Specialist does not have reason to believe these infections are related. 

Staff that had close contact with these three Veterans are being identified and are being offered screening for infection.  We are working to identify any additional Veterans who may have been exposed to the two patients in the waiting areas at the CBOCs during their multiple clinic visits.  Based on clinical findings of the patient diagnosed at Hines, he was deemed as low-risk for potential exposure and transmission to other patients. 

Transmission of TB is most likely to occur from patients who have unrecognized TB or have received ineffective treatment.  TB is preventable and, in most cases, treatable.  Our infection control program is designed to ensure prompt detection of infectious patients and employees, airborne precautions and treatment of people who have suspected or confirmed TB.  Infection control practices can help reduce the risk of TB transmission.  For reference, please find attached a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to TB. 

It is our unwavering commitment that allows us to provide the best care to our Veterans and staff in a safe and compassionate healthcare environment.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Infection Control at ext. 22543.  Thank you for everything you do every day to care for and honor the men and women who are America’s Veterans. 


Lynette Taylor

Acting Hospital Director

Source: Download Hines VA Tuberculosis Email

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  1. Bill S-1203 has now passed Senate will mandate vaccines at VA. If refused we will loose all benefits!

    1. Talk about an open-ended method of “testing vaccines” on unsuspecting veterans by telling us we MUST take whatever freaking shot they wish to give us. Nazi Germany would have loved this plan…wait…maybe that’s the template for the VA’s “solution for Veterans”?
      Do the shots come with a cattle branding for identification purposes of Big Pharma or is that probably forthcoming in the VA’s mandatory microchip implants down the line?

      This surely cannot be legal and binding because there’s even some people that may refuse because of religious or other reasons in addition to plain not trusting the VA.

      1. It took about 2 seconds of searching to see whether this was a hoax. Lots of speculation, but it does not appear to be the mandate it is being stated as.
        After getting 2 anthrax shots and another experimental shot in the Gulf, neither of them being officially documented in my military shot records, I will never again be a pin cushion for some nitwit thinking I need a shot for my own good. Given the VA track record on medicine, they would likely be mandating a veteran get these shots every time you show up at the VA, without regard to guidelines on when the shots could be given together, or with other medicines. They would also likely demand immunity from any claims of damage caused by their malpractice in giving these shots.

      2. Nor I. Been there, done that, live with that every remaining day now. Will say it again, “I’d rather a certified Haitian Witch Dr. with Zombie Dust and a Bag of Chicken Bones addressed my healthcare needs than the VA”. (Haitian Witch Dr. would be considered too qualified to work at VA)

        Pigmies with pharma blow darts would work in a pinch 🙂

    2. Don’t want to risk if it’s a hoax…calling Congress rep. anyway. The website that is coming up stating it’s a hoax is interpreting the Bill wording with “recommended” as the Va is only recommending the shots. The word recommend is quoting a common term used in medicine as, “recommended vaccine schedule. In other words what CDC/AMA suggest as proper timing of administration. I see the words “compliance” and “ensure” as a possible reference to a mandate.
      The state of Ca. has passed vaccine mandate law and many states are to follow. Whatever, your views are on vaccinations, it is troubling to me that there is a possibility we will be forced. Some of have genetics/ immunity that will cause harm if we must take things in vaccines, such as mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, the list goes on. I hope I am wrong but I rather make my voice heard before it is impossible to undue.

  2. 01/31/2016

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    We have seen in just a few days what this Administration [White House/Congress/Judicial Branch] thinks about the Veterans by their actions.

    Throwing out the investigations just over 30 days ago and re-instating poorly qualified/dangerous administrators is beyond expression. Some high ranking Attorneys call is a sad “comedy.”

    19,500 dead veterans a year, victims of abuse, is not a comedy.

    As the Boston University leaks out what has happen to 200,000 soldiers—it is very sad.

    America should look at this article [and many others] and rethink their political views and who they want to stand next too.


    Don Karg
    Toxic Exposures Caused Illness in Gulf War Veterans

    Has Our Country Abandoned Them?
    PRINT DATE: November 1995

    JANUARY 29, 2016 10:15 AM
    Veterans’ caregivers lose VA stipends, struggle to understand why

  3. These VAMC’s don’t ever inform veterans of anything. As an outpatient or as an inpatient anything that happens to you in these medical centers becomes your individual responsibility and not theirs as far as they are concerned. A veteran is at risk every time he walks into a VA medical center. It’s like walking in a mine field!

  4. VA Secretary Wants to Reform Appeals Process
    Bob McDonald, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), asked Congress for legislation to simplify the claims disability appeal process, which is failing veterans. The Secretary said in a statement to the press that “Decades worth of law and policy layered upon each other have become cumbersome and clunky. Most importantly, it is now so antiquated that it no longer serves veterans well, as many find it confusing and are frustrated by the endless process and the associated length of time it can take to get an answer.” McDonald stated that the VA should work to make an appeal process that on average takes less than one year to adjudicate an appeal. Currently the appeals process on average takes three years to reach a final decision on an appeal.

    Over the last three years, the number of cases pending for 125 days or more (the definition of a backlogged claim) has dropped from more than 612,000 to fewer than 80,000. Nevertheless, officials missed their publicly stated goal of reaching zero by the end of 2015.

    At the same time, the number of appeals—cases where veterans believe claims processors have misunderstood the severity of their injuries and shortchanged their benefits payouts—has risen by more than 30 percent, to 440,000 cases. FRA believes that appeals on average taking more than 3 years to resolve is unacceptable, and that the cost of defending the nation should include timely and adequate treatment of our wounded warriors.

    WPP Accused of Lavish Spending
    The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a major charity for wounded veterans, has been accused of spending donor money on lavish conferences and parties instead of on recovery programs, according to a CBS News report. The report claims spending on conferences and meetings went from $1.7 million in 2010 to $26 million in 2014, which is the same amount the group spends on combat stress recovery, according to WWP’s tax forms. The news segment focused on a four-day conference in Colorado, attended by more than 500 staff, which CBS News reported cost about $3 million.

    From the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) email bulletin…………

    1. 500 staff more than likely going to the MJ Dispensaries considering they chose Colorado as their “Conference Location”…only a wild guess….oh, fill the rest in with room service and hookers…I can only imagine, if this is true.

      I have also read about where WWP has sued or attempted to sue VETERANS that state anything negative about them, but I never really wanted to believe it was true, but now it has me thinking their must be at least an ounce of truth to this…unless it’s a well-orchestrated slam on WWP in order to slam Trump’s support of same…these Repuke’s are approaching that point of desperation so nothing will really surprise me at this point…except the VA, which never ceases to surprise me and not in a good way.

      So, McDonald suddenly ha a brainstorm about the Appeal Process? They want to “change” or “redefine” the process? For whose true benefit? The VA or Vets? I could actually see the VA trying to make it so all Vets only have -1- open window to appeal and that’s it…just a wild guess, but it will not be to benefit Veterans, you count on that part as fact, right?!

  5. Nice to see the VA so concerned for their employees. How long before veterans exposed are notified?

  6. I am waiting for the Trove of VA Trolls coming on here again stating that “these things happen at ALL hospitals all the time…”, to try to marginalize or rationalize the VA having many more Infectious Disease breakouts in facilities and repeatedly at same locations, when we know this comes down to both medical/hospital cleanliness and sterile practices that the VA probably just skipped a few steps to save a buck or sheer laziness.
    There is also that Legionnaires Breakout in Illinois all of last year at a VA Medical Retirement Facility that KILLED 12 Vets last count I heard and 56+ more infected.
    This is not just random business as usual, as any potential Trove of VA Trolls may want to convince us of.

  7. VA got some pretty heavy hits last night at debate gate. What do you think the follow up will be if any????? Also, this thing with Wounded Warriors is turning into an embaressment of sorts….

    1. I really doubt the VA would have been in a topic at all in last night’s “debate Gate” if Trump had not stated he was going to do a fundraiser to help Veterans. Those candidates and moderators that happened to mention it was yes, true stuff, but seemed to be more politicizing and trying to connect themselves to what the actual ‘frontrunner’ was doing right THAT moment, nothing less than ‘stage props’, we Veterans, to the lot of them up there.
      Even the Google Participant they chose to ask a ‘Question’ that was made to believe he was going to talk about VETERAN ISSUES because….he WAS A VETERAN…and guess what?
      He said he lived close to Fergusson, Missouri and asked about better tech/cameras for police officers and made it into a Black Lives Matter thing….NOT A DAMN THING ABOUT *VETERANS*….anyone else catch that ‘rope a dope’? That pissed me off because Veteran’s Issues had a real chance of being asked a poignant question about the VA and Homeless Vets and more…but no…………WTF?!!

      1. I am half-wondering if this is not an underhanded strategy of vilifying a VSO like Wounded Warriors just to be able to taunt Trump for donating to them knowing a scandal was underway?
        Something just does not settle right with this because I really though and still do, that Wounded Warriors do some great things. However, I know nothing about their finances nor accountability issues.

      2. Nice disgraceful dodge from veterans issues to the BLM special snowflakes.
        As for the Wounded Warrior thing, this isn’t new. There have been lots of reports or comments about how they are run for at least 2 years now, how the help to veterans is minimal unless they can somehow gain media attention from their help, etc. Getting a water bottle and sports bag is nice but does nothing to help a veteran to get medical care.
        As for Trumps veteran event last night, I hope it truly translates into veterans getting help and raising the issue for the public to be aware of how pathetic veterans care as been. Unfortnately, I still think it’s almost like an opportunistic event for political gain. I wouldn’t be so skeptical if his track record was better in helping veterans. His domain name for his web site to raise money for this event was just registered yesterday morning, and all donations went to his foundation.

    2. @Hondo and namnibor.
      I didn’t see last night’s debate. Because we don’t have cable or sattellight.
      So, this leaves the wife and me to rely on info from y’all OR main stream liberal biased news casting.

      If y’all would, please add some of the “highlights” the idiots said last night about the VA.

      1. You really did not miss much of anything. Same 7 idiots kissing the asses of Iowa.
        What was interesting is Fox calling Rubio AND Cruz on both flip-flopping on Immigration Issues and Voting Records, and I got a strong scent from that debate Fox is trying to favor Bush/Cruz.
        Also, what I wrote about the wasted opportunity a Veteran was selected to talk about VETERAN and VA ISSUES on Skype, LIVE, and instead the bastard immediately made it into a cops and cameras Black Lives Matter thing…NOT A PEEP about the VA or Veterans from the Veteran selected via Google…again, I am still fuming over that missed opportunity and trickery of that Veteran…he immediately started talking about living close to Ferguson, MS…blah, blah…

        Also, Bush tried to make it seem like HE has this brand NEW idea of giving veterans a CHOICE CARD so we can go to any Dr…..hello, welcome to reality a year and half later Mr. Bush!

        Add a generous helping of self-promoting my ass does not stink egomaniac statements…the debates in a nutshell. But that veteran via Skype PISSED ME OFF because the whole reason for his selection was BECAUSE he was a Veteran and to TALK/ASK candidates about the VA/veteran Issues. 🙁

      2. Nam’ pretty well says it like it was. I totally agree with your assessment of the the veteran and his non-veteran message to the world. Bush did most of the talking about the sorry state of the VA, but the Bush’s are good at (talking) about things. I think one of the commentators brought up the wounded warrior subject. CBS has done a multi part report about some questionable use of money, worth looking up and reading. They have also sued other veterans who have spoken out against them and blasted CBS for their report. Go to Asknod for more on that………..As far as Trump, I personally don’t care who or how the sorry state of the VA and treatment, (or lack of), of veterans gets out as long as the message stays in the headlines and the story continues…..

    3. CNN did a fucked up job of televising this Trump thing. I didn’t hear what the Donald had to say because of the overlay of CNN commentators talking about the other debate on Fox and what effect it is having on them. CNN completely ignored anything about veterans. As for “Wounded Warriors” , they are the last organization I would give a dime to. Their standing in charities worth your dime is ridiculous. They will give the veterans 1 cent for every dime they rake in. Donald’s judgement to donate to them was poor. Although Don is the only person talking about vets and the poor state of the VA, I feel he is using the veterans issues to stage his own personal agenda as an alternative to Fox. Everyone sucks. We once again get screwed !!

  8. Yep, there’s that same “phrase” VA’s use Nationwide!
    “Thank you for everything you do every day to care for and honor the men and women who are America’s Veterans!”
    No REAL mention of “HOW” VA will combat this deadly disease!?
    Of course, what can veterans and taxpayers expect from this seriously broken government agency?!

    On a side note; Obamy just came out and said “There will be a Dumbocrat in the White House!” (in 2017)!
    Now, if y’all will remember, Obama “claimed victory” in Sept 2008! Two months prior to the election!
    Now he’s again “claiming victory”!
    He’s also stated the new president will make sure “There will be no negative speach against Muslims!” Basically, tell the people “WHAT” the next (Dumbocratic) will be doing!”
    How’s that for arrogance!

    Yes, Mr. Trump “raised $6 million” last night for different veterans organizations. The place was packed and not everyone got inside!
    Plus, all the “polls” show Trump “won the debate”, even though he “didn’t attend!” One poll has his “rating” at 57+ (in Iowa)!”

  9. Today’s article is why I choose to use my Medicare and Private Medical rather than the VAMC’s, and I am a Category 1, 100% Service Connected Disabled Veteran…because such Infectious Disease Outbreaks like these reported LATE IN GAME would be TOO LATE for Vets such as me that already have a compromised immune system and today’s article shows the VA’s PRIMARY CONCERN IS THEIR EMPLOYEES, not Veterans!!!
    BasTURDS. Hines VAMC should be thrown into the Aurora Colorado Black Hole and maybe “nuke them from orbit…just to be sure”–Sigourney Weaver’s ‘Ripley’ in movie, “Alien”.

    1. I completely agree! Place scares the hell out of me. However, how often must we be seen to still keep Va. benefits? Are labs or anything other than a primary care visit required?
      Only drawback is
      Medicare requiring us to use our SSN.

      1. There is no requirement to see the VA for anything other than to stay active in their system, and even that is not required. They still have to provide care for service connected conditions regardless of when you were last seen by them. I had not been to the VA since maybe 2009. I went to them in late 2013 for my service connected knee condition. I had knee replacement surgery by them in 2014. I had a primary care appointment that they billed my insurance for, so I asked why. They said if it were just a checkup, they would Bill my insurance. I said if they were going to do that, I would go to real doctors. I was told the only need for the annual checkup was to stay active in their system. They said I could have a checkup every other year if I chose. I was also told even if I no longer went to the VA, they would still have to see me for service connected medical care.

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