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VA restarting Fort Wayne inpatient care in phases

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday it has completed the first part of a three-stage resumption of inpatient care at its medical center in Fort Wayne.

The VA Medical Center has remodeled three acute care rooms used for chemotherapy infusion, and it began treating patients Monday, said Sheryl Grubb, public affairs officer for VA Northern Indiana Health Care System.

The next two phases for restoring inpatient care will involve telemetry, including cardiac monitoring, and intensive care.

“We will work our way up to each phase restart, and then to the full capacity in the first quarter of 2013,” Grubb said in a telephone interview.

The VA Medical Center suspended inpatient care in October, saying it needed to review its processes and train staff. Grubb said last month that inpatient services might resume in the first three months of next year at the Lake Avenue complex.

Grubb also said Monday that four vacancies in key medical positions have been filled with interim or acting personnel from within VA, and that the regional health system will continue to recruit permanent replacements.

VA officials had a briefing Monday morning with staff members of four area congressmen and veterans services officers from about 25 counties, Grubb said.

VA Inspector General George Opfer recently agreed to review the decision to suspend inpatient care at the request of Reps. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, and Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd. Donnelly and Stutzman are members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

For more on this story, see Tuesday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Tuesday.