90-day hold placed on referrals to Oklahoma veterans center

90-day hold placed on referrals to Oklahoma veterans center
Posted at 12:48 PM, Apr 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-17 13:48:36-04

TALIHINA, Okla. (AP) -- An Oklahoma Veterans Affairs hospital has placed a 90-day hold on admission referrals to an already struggling veterans center.

The Oklahoman reports that this is the second instance in less than six months that the Muskogee hospital has placed a hold on referrals to the Talihina Veterans Center.

Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs deputy director Doug Elliott says the center relies on referrals for about 60 or 70 percent of its new patients. Elliott says for every patient lost, the center loses $106 to $350 a day in revenues.

The center came under scrutiny after the recent deaths of 73-year-old Owen Reese Peterson and 70-year-old Leonard Smith. It stopped accepting residents with behavioral issues and began phasing out its special needs unit because of the deaths and a severe nursing staff shortage.

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