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VA Pittsburgh gets new director

The Department of Veterans Affairs has chosen a West Virginia hospital administrator to run the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, the agency announced Friday.

Karin McGraw, director of the Beckley VA Medical Center, will take over as director of the Pittsburgh system within the next 60 days, the VA announcement states. She's the first permanent replacement for Terry Gerigk Wolf, who was fired in November 2014 for her role in a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak.

“I am excited to assume the position of director for the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System,” McGraw said in an emailed statement. “I look forward to working with the Pittsburgh veterans, staff, congressional offices and community to identify opportunities to enhance the health care services delivered to the veterans we serve.”

A series of interim directors has run the Pittsburgh system since Wolf's firing. Dr. Timothy R. Burke is the latest. In an emailed statement, Burke said he was “delighted” by McGraw's appointment.

“In my short time here, I've been honored to serve the veterans, employees and volunteers, and will continue to do so until Ms. McGraw's arrival. VA Pittsburgh and our entire community will benefit from the stability and vision that comes with having a permanent director,” Burke stated.

Beckley serves about 38,000 veterans in southern West Virginia, compared to nearly 70,000 veterans who get their health care at the VA Pittsburgh, according to the department's statistics.

In Beckley, McGraw ran a 40-bed medical facility and a 50-bed community living center, as well as two outpatient clinics and two Veterans Outreach Centers.

In Pittsburgh, she'll be responsible for a 228-bed hospital on University Drive in Oakland, a 262-bed community living center at the H.J. Heinz campus in O'Hara, and five outpatient clinics, all funded by a $583 million budget.

McGraw received a master's degree in nursing administration from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., in 1992. Before becoming director at Beckley in 2008, she was the medical center's associate director for four years and a chief in the center's acute care division for six years before that.

McGraw's appointment occurred a week after the VA announced Dr. Michael Adelman as regional VA director for the Pittsburgh-based Veterans Integrated Service Network 4. The network oversees health care centers in most of Pennsylvania and all or parts of five neighboring states.

Former VISN4 director Michael Moreland — a former VA Pittsburgh system director — retired just over two years ago amid criticism from Congress and veterans' families about his handling of the Legionnaires' outbreak and a $63,000 bonus he received then for his career performance.

At least six veterans died and 16 fell ill during the outbreak, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said lasted from February 2011 to November 2012. Wolf was the only employee fired.

Mike Wereschagin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7900 or [email protected].


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