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Green Country veteran denied stay at Claremore VA due to 'misdiagnosis'

Posted at 9:14 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 23:30:13-04

CLAREMORE, Okla — COVID-19’s grip on the state of Oklahoma means tight precautions at VA centers. So tight, a Green Country veteran was denied admission into the Claremore facility. The problem comes down to the amount of available rooms and beds.

“Hi, daddy. How are you,” Lorraine McCool said on the phone with her dad, Lee Polanco, as she stood outside his window on the grounds of a private nursing home in Claremore.

“Hanging in there,” Polanco said.

Polanco is a veteran who served for 27 years as a combat medic in Vietnam and Korea.

“He didn’t get called into draft,” McCool said. “He volunteered himself for service to our country. It’s frustrating now that when he has a right offered to him, he’s being treated like he no longer has that right.”

Polanco was recently hospitalized and treated for C. Diff., an intestinal bacterial infection.

Since Polanco’s recovery, McCool tried to admit him into the Claremore Veterans Center. That did not work out because Polanco’s diagnosis was written as recurrent C. Diff.

“Without them writing in correctly, they don’t want to take him. They see it as a risk. They have to have a private room for him to be isolated,” McCool said.

Private rooms are in short supply.

A public information officer for the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs sent a statement to 2 Works for You.

Due to privacy laws I can't speak on the medical condition or status of application of a particular applicant.
I can share that all 7 Veterans Centers are currently accepting applications and making admissions. Admissions have slowed compared to pre-covid rates due to the isolation precautions in effect for new and returning residents. Each Center has reduced room or bed capacity available because rooms have been repurposed and dedicated to use as isolation units.
Each new applicant is evaluated for whether we can meet his or her needs for care, whether we have an isolation bed available for the mandated quarantine period upon admission (and potentially continuing basis depending on diagnosis and treatment needs), and availability of the appropriate characterization of room and bed on their eventual home unit following their initial isolation precaution. Any applicant that meets the admission criteria as being medically appropriate for the care provided in our Centers can be "wait listed" if a room or bed is not immediately available until one becomes available. Admission priorities on our wait (for the medically appropriate bed type) are based on conflict service period, service-connected disability rating status, and date of application.
Shane Faulkner, Public Information Officer

A representative with Saint Francis Hospital told 2 Works for You they are aware of the situation and are in the process of assisting with the diagnosis revision.

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