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VVCH operating rooms shut down amid inquiry

VICTORVILLE • After initially denying it, Victor Valley Community Hospital officials admitted Monday that the hospital's operating rooms were shut down last week, forcing surgery patients to be transferred to other hospitals.

Federal officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had been visiting VVCH to inspect the quality of care since Dec. 10, hospital spokeswoman Lovella Sullivan said. They inspected the operating room Wednesday and found a suspected violation, according to Sullivan, who twice denied things were amiss at the hospital last week.

The hospital voluntarily rescheduled surgery from Thursday to Saturday, but the operating room remained open for emergency surgery, Sullivan said. Many of the patients were sent to other hospitals for surgery.

“These cases were rescheduled until the state reviewed an instrumentation process,” according to a statement Monday from the hospital.

Sullivan said she didn’t know exactly what the instrumentation violation referred to. But a knowledgeable source said the violation related to how surgical instruments are cleaned and sterilized.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials did not return calls Thursday, Friday or Monday.

The operating room reopened Friday after the inspectors gave the hospital clearance, Sullivan said.

The federal agency will give the hospital an exit interview Tuesday to explain highlights of the inspection, Sullivan said.

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