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Atlanta VA director says changes made

ATLANTA — The Atlanta VA Medical Center has begun tracking mental health patients referred to outside facilities and taken other steps to address problems outlined by federal auditors, the hospital’s new director said Thursday.

Among other things, the center plans to place VA-licensed social workers at contracted facilities, Di­rector Leslie Wiggins said.

Allegations of mismanagement and poor patient care followed three deaths at the Atlanta facility. An inspector general’s audit in mid-April said one patient in need of mental health care committed suicide and two others who needed care died of drug overdoses.

Another death recently came to light from last year. A veteran being treated for depression and anxiety committed suicide after being discharged.

“Veterans can be assured of our ongoing commitment to provide high-quality care,” Wiggins said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs reported in April that the facility struggled with poor patient safety, inadequate monitoring and unsatisfactory policies for dealing with contraband, drug tests and visitation.

In other news

A COBB COUNTY JUDGE has sentenced an Austell man convicted of whipping a child’s genitals to serve five years in prison. Prosecutors say Andrew Charles Pride, 31, whipped the 22-month-old boy because he wasn’t cooperating with potty training efforts.


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