Advertisement

Patients and staff at VA Medical Center relocated after mold found in air-conditioning units

Domiciliary closed Friday after officials found 'common' mold in fan coils

August 26, 2013

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Mold found in air-conditioning units in the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s domiciliary prompted the hospital to relocate patients and staff last week, officials said Monday.

The domiciliary was closed Friday after safety officials at the hospital found “common” mold in the fan coils of the air conditioners, the medical center said.

“During the cleanup process, the delivery of care to our patients and the medical center’s daily operational activities will not be interrupted,” Ann R. Brown, medical center director, said in a news release.

“We are making every effort to ensure this process is as smooth and expeditious as possible, so that our veterans can move back into their rooms as quickly as possible.”

The mold removal, which began Saturday, is expected to take about 60 days, and the affected areas have been restricted to authorized construction personnel, the hospital said.

The air conditioners were not connected to any other campus building or ductwork when the mold was found, officials said.

“The safety of our veterans, visitors and staff is paramount in all that we do,” said Dr. Jonathan Fierer, chief of staff at the Martinsburg center. “Although the health risks from this type of mold exposure are very low, the medical center leadership felt the best course of action was to move all domiciliary patients until the remediation process is complete in all domiciliary buildings.”

Advertisement

The hospital relocated about 175 patients as a result of the mold issue, a VAMC spokesman said Monday night. Some of them are being housed at local hotels, as well as other VA facilties off campus, depending on the program, the spokesman said.

The mold discovery comes after the hospital was cited for health and safety violations stemming from mold-related issues at the hospital, which date back to 2006.

The reports indicated that a patient and an employee were exposed to mold dating back to 2006 that was caused by an ice-machine leak in the same-day-surgery area of the hospital.

A spokesman said in an email Monday night that the current situation in the domiciliary is not related to the previous mold issues.

The domiciliary is a component of the Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program and is a 312-bed facility providing five residential treatment programs, according to the Martinsburg center’s public affairs office. Additionally, the program recently opened the She Served She Deserves Unit, an 18-bed unit designed especially for female veterans.

The medical center provides health care services to veterans in southeastern Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. The 175-acre campus east of Martinsburg includes a 69-bed hospital, a 178-bed nursing home-care unit and a 312-bed domiciliary.

Patients with any questions or concerns may call the medical center’s information hotline at 304-579-2605.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|