The Veterans Affairs Department hospitals in Florida and Kansas recently beset by bats, rats and other pests are quickly working to restore the affected areas within their facilities.
The James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida, recently established "a multidisciplinary enviro-team — consisting of safety, infection control, environmental management and other services — that responds if a potential safety or environmental risk is reported," hospital spokeswoman Karen Collins said in an email to Military Times on Friday.
The Haley hospital had "dead rats falling from the kitchen ceiling" last month in addition to cockroaches found on patients' trays. Two months earlier, facilities management services "filled multiple buckets with roaches, dead rats and feces," the Tampa Bay Times reported.
"Being in a tropical, urban environment, we are keenly aware of the potential of, and continually monitor for, any pest control issues," Collins said. "We have developed an aggressive and proactive plan to address it, including awarding a new five-year pest control contract focused on the canteen and food preparation areas."
In a separate incident, the Eastern Kansas VA Hospital in Leavenworth shut down its operating rooms Wednesday and postponed 16 surgeries until next week because of dead bats found in trash cans.
Spokesman Jim Gleisberg said the hospital is dealing with the ongoing problem by using devices "where the bats can leave but cannot reenter." Hospital officials are conducting air quality tests to ensure conditions are safe after exterminators removed all of the bats, Gleisberg told 41 KSHB News.
Over 100 bats were found, according to a hospital employee.
Collins said the Haley facility will continue to clean the areas in light of the ongoing issue.
"We make every effort to provide the safest and best experience possible for veterans who entrust us with delivering the care they have earned and deserve," she said.