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Regional VA has new leader

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has named a new director for the regional network that includes the VA Medical Center in Fort Wayne.

Paul Bockelman will head Veterans Integrated Service Network 11, which is based in Ann Arbor, Mich., and includes most of Indiana, northwest Ohio, Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and central Illinois. He is expected to begin his duties in the next 60 days.

Bockelman has been the director of the VA Medical Center in Marion, Ill., for the last three years. He joined the department in 1981 and also has worked for VA facilities in Iowa and Atlanta.

Bockelman has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Toledo and a master’s degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

He will replace Robert McDivitt, VISN 11’s acting director since the Dec. 7 resignation of former director Michael Finegan, who went to work for a Michigan health care company after 23 years with VA.

VISN 11 operates eight medical centers – including in Fort Wayne, Marion and Indianapolis – and 30 community-based outpatient clinics. VA said in a news release the regional network serves 386,000 veterans, employs 12,000 people and has an annual operating budget of $2.1 billion.

The Fort Wayne campus serves about 40,000 veterans, employs about 600 people and has a yearly operating budget of $170 million.

VISN 11 is among 21 VA regional networks nationwide.