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Veterans moved from Phoenix VA nursing home due to rats

Workers at the Community Living Center discovered that the first floor had ceiling damage that was caused by rats.

PHOENIX — More than two dozen veterans living at a Phoenix VA nursing home had to be moved after the building was infested with rats.

Workers at the Community Living Center, which is a Veterans Affairs nursing home system, discovered that the first floor of the building had ceiling damage that was recently caused by rats.

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A spokesperson for the department said on Sunday that workers also found evidence of rats in an unused part of the second floor and some other areas as well.

After the health hazard was discovered, the entire CLC was placed under evaluation for exterminators, cleaning and staff education, according to the spokesperson.

“We're mitigating every single area where we see it and where every staff reported," said Interim Medical Center Director Michael Welsh. “The second floor was where we saw the most activity.”

The veterans in their 70s to 106 years old who were living at the CLC were moved to other VA buildings. 

Officials said no one living at the facility has been hurt or came into contact with the rats. 

The VA issued a statement that read in part:

“Because patient safety is a top priority for the Phoenix VA, Veterans in the CLC have been relocated to other VA and community facilities and, out of an abundance of caution, some procedures have been rescheduled.

We want to reassure Veterans, family members, and staff that no Veterans have been harmed and no direct contact with these pests has been reported.”

This is just one of many issues the Phoenix VA has faced.  

RELATED: Phoenix VA defends wait time reports

Local veteran Steve Cooper has been outspoken about the problems at the VA.
Back in 2017, a judge awarded him $2.5 million dollars for delayed care there that ultimately lead to a cancer diagnosis that the court said could have been prevented.

Cooper worries now that many veterans will have to push back surgeries and wait longer to be seen by a doctor. “We know that when the VA struggles anywhere, it struggles everywhere," Cooper said. 

Welsh said he believes it was recent monsoon storms that moved the rats in. 
VA officials said it's unclear at this time how long it will take until the facility is back open. 

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