Tomah VA psychiatric unit to reopen after closing due to lack of health providers

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Tomah VA Medical Center

TOMAH — The psychiatric unit at the troubled Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center is expected to open next week, about nine months after it closed.

The VA was forced to close the unit in September because it didn’t have enough health providers to staff it. That meant 125 veterans had to be transferred to other facilities around the state.

WXOW-TV ( reports clinic administrators have spent the last few months recruiting staff and have hired a psychiatrist and two nurses. That’s enough to reopen the unit on a limited basis. Seven beds will be available to veterans beginning July 5.

Inspectors for the VA in 2014 found that doctors were over-prescribing opioid painkillers, leading to the Tomah facility being nicknamed “Candy Land” by some veterans. The deaths of three people who were cared for at Tomah remain under investigation.