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VA clinic in Greenbrier County remains closed

By Paul J. Nyden

A Veterans Affairs community clinic in Greenbrier County will reopen, despite missing a tentative deadline to do so earlier this month, a spokeswoman said this week.

The VA’s Greenbrier County Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Maxwelton has been closed since June 6 because of concerns about the air quality there.

“Several employees complained of an odor inside the clinic that caused them to have symptoms including the burning of eyes, itching, and the burning of throats,” Debby Voloski, public affairs officer at the Beckley Veterans Administration Medical Center, said Friday. “Other employees said they experienced sensations causing confusion, dizziness and other psychiatric effects. Several employees had to seek medical care.”

Earlier this summer, VA officials said they hoped to have the Maxwelton clinic reopened by Aug. 1.

“We had set a tentative date to reopen in early August. But that did not come to pass,” Voloski said. “We are having a complete reconditioning done to our heating and ventilation system.”

The initial air tests at the Maxwelton facility apparently did not determine what was wrong.

“Several things were recommended that might improve the air and those things have been worked on since,” Voloski said.

She said another series of tests of the air inside the facility was conducted last Monday, Aug. 11. Those results may be ready by this Monday, she said.

“We fully intend to return and to relocate our services back at the CBOC in Maxwelton. It has not been closed permanently,” she said.

Sherman Beard lives in Hillsdale, about 20 miles from the closed clinic. He often went there for any medical help he needed. Today, he must travel to the VA Medical Center in Beckley to get medical attention.

“When I called this morning,” Beard said this week, “they said that the clinic was still closed. The call was transferred to the Beckley VA clinic.”

On Friday, telephone calls to the Greenbrier clinic were answered by a recorded message stating the facility is “currently closed” and urging callers to contact the VA Medical Center in Beckley.

Voloski said all of the Maxwelton clinic’s services, and several employees, have been temporarily transferred to Beckley.

“Our director made the decision to relocate our operations,” she said. We have been working with our veterans all through this process, telling them where to come for their appointments.”

Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.


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