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Union Workers, Veterans Protest Closure of Inpatient Care Unit

Updated: Jan. 23, 2021 at 9:39 PM EST
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CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (FOX19) - Members of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1631 along with veterans and their supporters protested the closure of acute care facilities at the Chillicothe Veterans Affairs Medical Center Saturday.

In a press release, the group says their local VA has downsized their facility in Chillicothe removing 26 beds for COVID-19 patients and 30 beds for acute care patients.

Protesters say this has caused more than 375 veterans to find care somewhere else, usually, a private doctor causing bigger medical bills for the veterans.

Protesters say moving them to other locations for care increases their exposure to the virus.

The group gathered at Yoctangee Park for a protest caravan so everyone could maintain the social distancing measures.

A Korean War veteran says he loves his local hospital, staff and nurses but he wants his fellow veterans to receive the care they need at home instead of being shipped off elsewhere.

“I hope all veterans call their representatives daily so we can get something done, so we can get our veteran hospital open back up for our veterans in southern and southeastern Ohio. That’s our home. I’ve been here all these years and they’ve kept me alive all this time,” said the veteran.

Stacia Ruby with the Veteran Affairs Office in Chillicothe said a total of 20 beds in two units were closed but it did not affect patients receiving treatment at that time.

Also from the hospital’s website, new patients requiring acute medical care will be re-routed to the Dayton VA Medical Center.

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