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New VA director named in area

Vivian Sade

FORT WAYNE – The Department of Veterans Affairs has appointed a new director for the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System.

Denise Deitzen will oversee delivery of health care to more than 39,000 veterans with an operating budget of $170 million.

She has been director of the VA Medical Center in Saginaw, Mich., for nearly three years.

The new director began her career at the Saginaw VA Medical Center in 1986 as a staff nurse. She worked in the private sector as a nursing instructor and critical care nurse for several years before returning to public service as a clinical nurse specialist in medicine and ambulatory care 15 years ago.

Deitzen was associate director for patient care services at the VA facility in Battle Creek, Mich., for more than five years from 2004 to 2009. During that time she also was appointed acting director or acting chief medical officer for several Michigan VA medical centers.

Deitzen has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in nursing/ nurse practitioner from Grand Valley State University.

Deitzen’s appointment comes at a time of turmoil for veterans and the VA Medical Center in Fort Wayne. The facility shut down its inpatient wards in October.

The shutdown affected an acute care hospital and intensive care unit, with a combined capacity of 30 patients.

Sheryl Grubb, public affairs officer for the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, said Friday that the department plans to resume inpatient services in early 2013 “but only if leadership is assured that the staff has demonstrated competencies and approved processes are in place to provide for sustainable high quality and safe care for veterans.”

Grubb also said “key leadership positions need to be filled” at the Fort Wayne medical center.

vsade@jg.net

Brian Francisco of The Journal Gazette contributed to this story.

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