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VA Med Center shuts Fort Wayne hospital, ICU

FORT WAYNE – The Department of Veterans Affairs has shut down its inpatient services and intensive care unit at the Fort Wayne VA Med Center.

Sheryl Grubb, with the public affairs office for VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, issued a statement Tuesday saying the system, "has temporarily paused inpatient operations on the Intensive Care Unit and the Acute Medical Unit at the Fort Wayne campus to afford us the opportunity to review our processes, provide training to our staff, and ensure our continued ability to maintain the most flexible systems and highest standard of care for our Veterans.

"All other services at VANIHCS remain unaffected and will continue to be provided to Veterans," the statement continued. "The needs of all Veterans requiring inpatient medical care or Veterans scheduled for surgeries requiring inpatient support will be met utilizing our community partners and other VA Medical Centers."

Ralph Anderson Sr., the president of Local 1384 of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a telephone interview that existing hospital patients have been or will be transferred to local and area hospitals, including VA hospitals, and new patients will be referred to other facilities.

The Fort Wayne med center "didn't have any policies and procedures in place to provide adequate patient care," Anderson said.

"This has been an ongoing problem. I've tried to address the issues and put the Department of Veterans Affairs on notice that we have a leadership problem here," Anderson said.

The ICU has about six beds, he said. The med center's hospital has about two dozen beds.

In June 2011, the VA inspector general's office issued a report based on an inspection of the ICU at the med center, located at Lake Avenue and Randallia Drive. The inspection found "inadequate management, documentation and review" of one patient and inadequate monitoring of a second patient. Additionally, the inspection found that during a six-month period, there was inadequate staffing on 23 days.

For more on this story pick up Wednesday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Wednesday.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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