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West Virginia VA: Criticized exec not moving to Huntington


The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.  — An embattled Veterans Affairs hospital executive scheduled for reassignment to the Huntington VA Medical Center will not be moved to West Virginia, the Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed Monday.

Douglas Paxton, who until Friday served as hospital director for the Roseburg VA Medical Center in Roseburg, Oregon, was to be reassigned as the assistant director of the Huntington VA on Thursday. Under Paxton, the Roseburg center was one of the 15 lowest-performing facilities in the nationwide VA hospital system, the department said in the announcement.

Paxton was central in a recent federal investigation by the VA’s Office of the Medical Inspector and the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, according to a report by The News-Review of Roseburg, Oregon. Paxton’s removal from the Roseburg VA was praised by U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, who represents Oregon’s fourth congressional district and led the investigation.

“He presided over a failing institution and took no action to correct things, to remove or discipline people who were managing poorly or providing improper care,” DeFazio told Carisa Cegavske of The News-Review.

The New York Times also published its own investigative findings in a story critical of Paxton in January. The report alleges, among other issues, a culture of intimidation for employees. It claims the hospital selectively admitted low-risk patients, and turned away the most difficult cases in order to improve its rating score. Paxton called the article “fake news,” The News-Review reported.

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