Cumberland Times-News

August 27, 2013

Mold forces W.Va. VA center to move 176 patients

Associated Press

— MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — About 175 patients at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg have been temporarily relocated after mold was found in their individual air conditioning units.

Media outlets said the affected patients are dealing with substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues. Some were sent to hotels or other VA-owned property.

Spokesman Richard Nappi said the VA is working on the logistics to ensure that the patients continue receiving whatever treatment they had been getting.

“We are looking hard at this because we don’t want them to lose any of the progress they’ve made,” he said.

The VA says removal of the mold is expected to take about 60 days. Officials didn’t identify the type of mold found but said they believe the health risks from it are low.

Dr. Jonathan Fierer said the relocation was necessary because patient safety is of paramount importance. The affected air conditioners are not attached to other buildings or any common ductwork, he said.

The affected areas were shut down on Friday, the day after the mold was discovered.