FORT WAYNE, Indiana — The Fort Wayne VA Medical Center has reopened its intensive care unit, completing the restoration of inpatient services after they stopped two years ago over lapses in care, insufficient staffing and leadership shortcomings.
The necessary clinical personnel have been hired and trained for the unit to begin accepting patients, Denise Deitzen, director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Northern Indiana Health Care System, announced Saturday.
"Our team is complete. . We have put measures in place so we are sure that we are on the right track to providing exceptional health care for veterans," Deitzen said during a news conference, The Journal Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1wx5V1A ).
Two of the unit's four beds are ready for patients. When fully operational, the unit will be able to treat patients in three private rooms and a bed at one end of the unit.
"This is a good day here for Indiana veterans, for northern Indiana vets," said Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly. "We faced significant challenges with our ICU unit here and with other care areas here, and we have come a long, long way," he said.
The VA inspector general's office has been monitoring the medical center since Donnelly and Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., called for an investigation soon after all inpatient care was suspended in October 2012.
Resuming intensive care at the Fort Wayne medical center cost $3 million, Deitzen said. The project involved renovating and equipping space in an inpatient ward, implementing procedures and installing and training staff, including seven additional nurses.
The clinic had been referring ICU patients to non-VA hospitals during the interim.
Deitzen joined the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System as director in late 2012 and oversaw the resumption of inpatient chemotherapy, acute care and telemetry at the medical center the following year.
Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net