A VA care facility in Miles City is temporarily closed for patient safety reasons | State and Region

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Montana has temporarily closed the Miles City Veterans Long-Term Care Center over concerns about patient safety, the agency said Thursday.

In December, the regional VA office received a report from the facility on patient safety concerns. The VA did not disclose the nature of the concerns or whether any veterans were harmed as a result of the concerns, except to say they were valid. The VA reportedly investigated the situation at Miles City CLC through an administrative review process, found the concerns justified, and decided to move veterans from the facility to other long-term care facilities, according to Montana VA spokesman Matt Rosine.

“In December 2021, Montana VA identified patient safety concerns. VA has pursued multiple processes to include inspections, inquiries and investigations to fully assess CLC, read a Thursday afternoon press release issued in response to questions from the Billings Gazette.

Currently, the VA is working with veterans living at the center and their families to relocate them to other nursing homes. Those facilities could include local nursing homes or other federally-run homes like the Fort Harrison VA Hospital Care Center near Helena, according to people familiar with the situation.

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Once veterans have been moved from the home, the temporary closure will allow the VA to recruit, train, and scale up staffing requirements to the level of care the VA deems necessary to reopen the living facility.

“The safety and well-being of our veterans is our top priority. Due to staffing issues, we are unable to ensure that a critical level of high-quality care can be provided to residents,” Montana VA Executive Director Dr. Judy Hayman said via the Press release. “We proactively transfer veterans to other locations based on their preferences and those of their families. »

Currently, the home, which treats long-term patients requiring skilled nursing and complex care, is home to 14 veterans. The facility employs 40 people but is understaffed in five areas, according to the VA. These include physiotherapy, social work, nursing leadership, nursing education, and recreation therapy.

Sen. Steve Daines’ office said it is aware of the Miles City closure and the senator is investigating the situation. He added in a statement that he is “committed to doing all he can to support and care for Montana veterans.”

Sen. Jon Tester’s office said it was also aware of the shutdown on Thursday and that the senator had been in contact with officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs to review the situation.

“I am deeply concerned about what happened at the Miles City Community Living Center in VA. The issues that have been brought to my attention and that of VA management are unacceptable, and I will endeavor to hold accountable anyone found responsible for wrongdoing.

The Montana VA Health Care System serves more than 47,000 registered veterans across Montana with a staff of 1,400 at 18 care sites across the state. One-third of Montana VA employees are veterans, according to the Montana VA press release.

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