Indianapolis VA hospital loses $1M worth of medical equipment in 2 years

In just two years, more than $1 million worth of medical equipment has been lost, stolen or misplaced at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, reports

Here are five things to know.

1. WishTV's investigative team examined hospital inventory records and found it lost more than $1.5 million worth of items between 2014 and 2016. Records show about $520,000 worth of medical equipment and supplies were later located after additional searches, according to the report.

2. Some equipment — such as a $28,000 surgical drill or $22,000 worth of patient lifts — disappeared with no explanation. Smaller hand-held devices may have been stolen, according to hospital documents.

"[S]ome items are easily able to be put into staff pockets due to the size, and the equipment leaves the facility and does not return," a VA survey official wrote in one inventory record.

3. In 2013, the VA agreed signed a $543 million contract with a technology contractor to provide real-time location systems at all 152 VA hospitals across the country. The technology, which involves placing tracking devices into medical equipment, aims to improve asset management and reduce the amount of lost or stolen items, according to the report.

4. Four years later, the technology has only been installed in about one-third of all VA hospitals, and less than 10 percent of inventory at Roudebush VA Medical Center is equipped with tracking devices, according to the report.

"There is no reason this should be happening with today's technology," veteran Robert Szramoski said of the missing equipment. "It just boggles the mind."

5. Roudebush officials declined WishTV's interview request, but shared the following statement.

"With assets in excess of $124M, our ongoing inventory indicates less than one percent falls into the misplaced category," officials said. "This does not imply a perfect record or apathetic concern; items are lost, missing and not found. Though we regret every missing item, we continuously strive to improve our asset management program including the recent implementation of the Maximo asset management system just this month."

Editor's note: This article was updated on May 15.

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