Minneapolis VA cited after 2018 suicide of veteran

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis VA Health Care Center has been cited for failures in connection with the 2018 suicide of a veteran in its care.

It’s the second time in 16 months that a federal watchdog has cited the medical center after a suicide. In a report this week, the VA Office of Inspector General found the Minnesota veteran said he wanted to die after he was admitted in spring 2018.

A nurse also overheard him telling someone on the telephone that he would die at the hospital. Hours after that call, he attempted suicide and couldn’t be revived.

The inspector general found that staff members failed to share the man’s suicidal thoughts with others on the treatment team, which might have prevented his death, the Star Tribune reported.

His death came weeks after another veteran killed himself in the center’s parking lot, less than 24 hours after he was discharged from the mental health unit.

VA officials said in a statement the report focuses on events from 20 months ago and they’ve made improvements to address the failures. Among them, they have integrated reports on suicidal behavior into emergency department processes and taken steps to ensure veterans with suicidal thoughts or behaviors are closely supervised.