CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The medical surgical unit, known as “3AM”, at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center, in Clarksburg, has been shut down following a recent review of patient safety records, officials said Wednesday.
During a daily review of patient safety reports on October 8, the VAMC’s leadership team found two reports that they found to be “concerning related to patient care,” a statement from the VA said.
Based on those concerns, officials decided to reassign all 32 members of the unit’s nursing staff from clinical care pending an investigation, the statement went on to say.
“An external Administrative Board of Investigation is being convened to further investigate the care provided by the staff on this unit,” read the statement. The Veteran’s Administration’s OIG is also in the process of reviewing care on this unit, officials said.
The patients who were receiving care in the 3AM Unit have either been discharged, moved to other units in the VAMC or transferred to other VAMCs, said VA officials.
The 3AM unit’s staff is made up of 23 registered nurses and nine nursing assistants, officials said. Given the number of staff who have been reassigned, VAMC leaders are working to find replacement staff and until that staff can be found, the unit will remain closed, officials told 12 News.
The VAMC’s Intensive Care Unit, Community Living Center, and Behavioral Health wards are still open. Any veteran who needs “medical care admission will be transferred to local community partners or other VA medical centers to meet their needs at VA expense,” the VA statement read.
The unit has been “closely monitored” since a January 2021 patient safety stand-down, hospital officials said.
“The Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center is committed to ensuring that care provided to all Veterans is handled safely and at the highest level possible,” concluded the hospital’s statement.
When asked for comment, Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) said, “We have talked to the VA Secretary and leadership at Clarksburg VAMC and are aware of the ongoing investigation. We have urged them to do a thorough investigation and be transparent about the situation so our veterans can have confidence in the safety and quality of care at the Clarksburg VA.”
A statement from the office of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va. stated: “Senator Manchin spoke with Secretary McDonough about the concerning situation at the Clarksburg VAMC. He is working closely and quickly with VA officials to determine a pathway forward and ensure every Veteran is able to receive high quality medical care in a safe environment with quality professionals and all the necessary equipment.”
In May 2021, a former VA employee, Reta Mays, was sentenced to seven life sentences after pleading guilty to charges related to the deaths of eight Clarksburg VAMC patients.