The Office of the Inspector General of the Peace Corps reviews Health Services

Tragically, Meghan Wolf’s ordeal is not the only story of Peace Corps Volunteers receiving indifferent and/or inadequate care. The illness and death of a Volunteer in Morocco prompted an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of the Peace Corps. The OIG  followed up with  that 2009 report with  this examination not only of the situation in Morocco but the overall status of Health Services within the Peace Corps. The final report was issued in March of this year, 2016. It is the most current evaluation of Peace Corps Health Services.

From that report:

“In 2009, the Office of Inspector General conducted an independent inquiry into the facts and circumstances related to the illness and death of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. As part of its inquiry, OIG reviewed the organization and care provided to Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco…….This follow- up evaluation seeks to understand to what extent actions taken in response to OIG’s 10 recommendations from the 2010 report have led to improvements in clinical oversight, transfer of care, scope of practice management, quality improvement processes, sentinel event reporting, and staffing.

 What We Found

IG-16-01-E March 2016

Since 2010, the Peace Corps Office of Health Service (OHS) has enhanced its oversight of health units and its quality improvement program, expanded the Regional Medical Officer (RMO) model, enforced its clinical escalation policy, strengthened its chart review process, implemented a sentinel event program, developed a scope of practice policy, and launched a new electronic medical records system.

However, aspects of the Volunteer health care program needed improvement. Our review found four deficiencies in the Peace Corps’ sentinel event review process: too many events were being reviewed, members of the sentinel review committee had conflicts of interest with the cases, the root cause analyses were not comprehensive, and the reviews did not result in systemic change.

In addition, although staff felt prepared to respond to medical emergencies, we found gaps in medical emergency preparedness, including incomplete medical evacuation plans and non-compliance with the requirement to perform periodic medical emergency preparedness drills. Further, we assessed that country directors were unaware of all of their oversight responsibilities regarding health unit operations because relevant agency guidance was spread across multiple policies and technical guidelines.

Finally, we found that PCMOs’ dissatisfaction with workload, compensation and professional development opportunities had undermined the agency’s ability to retain them as staff. Unwanted turnover among PCMOs was associated with high cost and increased risk for the agency.”

  Here is the link to read the entire report:

http://files.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/policies/Final_Report_Follow_Up_Evaluation_of_Issues_in_2010_PC_Morocco_Assessment_of_Medical_Care.pdf

The OIG has also issued a report on the death of Volunteer Nick Castle.  To see the list of current OIG reports, go to http://www.peacecorps.gov/about/inspgen/reports/

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