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New regional VA director named

Will take helm within 60 days


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has named a new director for the regional network that includes the VA Medical Center in Fort Wayne.

Paul Bockelman will head Veterans Integrated Service Network 11, which is based in Ann Arbor, Mich., and includes most of Indiana, northwest Ohio, Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and central Illinois. He is expected to begin his duties in the next 60 days.

Bockelman has been the director of the VA Medical Center in Marion, Ill., for the past three years, according to a VA announcement issued Monday. That southern Illinois medical center, which operates an outpatient clinic in Evansville, is part of the Kansas City, Mo.-based VISN 15.

Bockelman joined the VA in 1981 and also has worked for department facilities in Iowa and Atlanta. He has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Toledo and a master’s degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

He will replace Robert McDivitt, VISN 11’s acting director since the Dec. 7 resignation of former director Michael Finegan, who went to work for a Michigan health care company after 23 years with the VA.

VISN 11 operates eight medical centers – including in Fort Wayne, Marion and Indianapolis – and 30 community outpatient clinics.

The VA said in a written statement the regional network serves 386,000 military veterans, employs 12,000 people and has an annual operating budget of $2.1 billion.

The Fort Wayne campus at Lake Avenue and Randallia Drive serves about 40,000 veterans, employs about 600 people and has a yearly operating budget of $170 million. It and the Marion campus form VA Northern Indiana Health Care System.

Sheryl Grubb, public affairs officer for the system, said in an email about Bockelman, “The VISN leadership has supported our plans and changes and we anticipate that oversight and support will continue.”

Grubb said that Denise Deitzen, the VANIHCS director since December, knows Bockelman through VA work.

VISN 11 is among 21 VA regional networks nationwide.