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COVID-19 Info:

 

Message from the VHA Executive In Charge

COVID-19: Looking at the Big Picture

I want to take a moment to zoom out from our daily fight against COVID-19 and look at the big picture of VHA, including our future.

Yesterday, I joined the Secretary and other VA leaders in testifying before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs about our budget for next year. You can find video of the hearing here. While I would rather be at VA working with all of you, testifying before Congress is an important part of making sure we have the resources we need to give Veterans the excellent care they have come to expect from us. Testimony also gives us an opportunity to highlight all the great work VHA employees are doing and to let Congress know where we see VA's budget and programs in the coming years.

Tomorrow, I look forward to telling you about my visit to Martinsburg, West Virginia to see our Emergency Management Coordination Cell.

Thank you for all you do for our Veterans.

Richard A. Stone, MD

Executive in Charge

Follow leadership updates @ USHVHA

Employee Wellness Resources

06/06/20/ WNC MOAA/ Serious/

Charles George VA Medical Center

COVID-19 Update for July 7, 2020

* Voluntary: Attached is our latest newsletter - THANK YOU BONNIE (Virtual Volunteer)!!

* Signage: Our facility has been working diligently to update signage throughout the campus. Coming soon: new external signage on campus to help ease the flow of traffic. All COVID-19 signage implementation is managed by the COVID-19 Signage workgroup.

* Pharmacy: An App was created by staff member Dr. Ron Major, this App is being used by providers for requesting medications for the tent and during overnight. Even better did you know all staff members have access to the tools he used to create this App?

* PM&RS: The Physical Medicine &Rehabilitation Service is working to issue wheelchairs to Veterans using planned visits. They've already issued 30 out of the 45 wheelchairs that have been specially ordered for our Veterans.

* Eye Clinic: Every Wednesday Veterans (scheduled) can get drive-up Glaucoma care. The eye clinic is providing this service near the ED/Viral tent. The patient never has to get out of their car.

* Shoe Clinic: is providing a scheduled clinic in building 70 to issue specialty shoes that Veterans have been waiting on.

* Orthopedics: is providing joint injection in exam room space in Geri-PACT - Building 47. Sharing space is important right now as we work to re-open and continue to provide physical distancing and reduce bottlenecks in clinics.

* Laboratory: We have a way for patients arriving to the facility only for lab work to get scheduled. This allows for planned care, we can space out incoming Veterans, and decrease numbers in waiting rooms. Lab in building 70 has 42 patients scheduled today. Any clinic clerk can schedule patients for lab work into the clinic.

* Clinic Check in: On Monday June 29th a pilot was started for Vetext in a few clinics. In the past Vetext has been used to send text reminders to Veterans. Now we are using a new functionality which allows a Veteran to text HERE when they arrive and the clinic can notify them when they are ready for them to enter the building.

* Minor Surgery: Most of the clinics in Minor Surgery are starting to see patients at the 25% pre-COVID level.

* Surgery: Elective surgeries resumed on June 22nd at a reduced number. We are working to focus on outpatient surgeries.

* Shingles Vaccines: are being given by primary care staff at outside drive thru near the viral tent. Our Veterans stay in their car for this service.

* Vacation Planning & COVID-19: Summer is here. As you are planning vacations and trips remember to continue protecting yourself, review CDC travel guidelines before travel. It is everyone's responsibility to practice good infection prevention, masking and follow physical distancing guidelines. While on travel, watch the local news for guidance, some places are instructing people visiting that area to quarantine or recommend COVID testing.

* Cardiology: is now seeing patients face to face at 50% level pre COVID.

06/06/20/ WNC MOAA/ Serious/

Veterans Affairs Debt Management Center Assistance for Vets

We realize impacts due to COVID-19 are far reaching. The Debt Management Center (DMC) is helping our Veterans and beneficiaries.

WHAT WE’RE DOING

• Suspended collections on new debts and halted issuing new debt collection letters

• Paused referral of delinquent debt to Department of the Treasury, Credit Alert Interactive Verification Reporting System, and Credit Reporting Agencies

• Offering temporary suspension of debt collection

• Providing extended payment arrangements

• Text messages sent directly to Veteran's phone accounts - 8.6M recipients

• Conducted a Borne the Battle Podcast with Public Affairs - reached 11M

• Communicated to Veterans via a letter, multiple emails, Facebook, website posts and blog updates

WHERE TO GET UPDATES

We will continue to update our website with new information regarding the COVID-19 crisis. We will announce important dates regarding resumption of debt collection activities on our website.

WHO TO CONTACT

For help with payment plans, please call us at 1-800-827-0648 or submit your online request to DMC.

Veteran Feedback on COVID Relief Efforts

"I am a 76-year old Vietman Vet who also served in Iraq and Afghanistan in a civilian capacity. The proactive nature of the letter is such a breath of fresh air. It is so thoughtful, so well written, so kind in tone, and it covers all the bases. I worked in a Minot Vet Center for a year and know how hard and long it takes to staff, approve and distribute such a letter with such huge financial implications. I cannot find the words to tell your team what a magnificent piece of work this letter represents."

06/03/20/ WNC MOAA/ Serious/

Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency

How to Protect Yourself From Corona Virus Infection

Reduce the Risk of Exposure to the Virus:

1. Stay home except for essential needs, like food and medicines.

2. When you go out, avoid crowds: a. Do not congregate with more than 10 people

3. Keep your distance:

a. Stay at least 6 feet away from others.

b. A higher risk exposure occurs when you are closer than 6 feet for more than 10 minutes.

c. Closer than 6 feet for a shorter time does not represent a significant exposure.

d. Just walking past someone is not a significant exposure.

4. Wear a mask:

a. To keep from giving this to someone else, especially if you are sick.

b. It may also help to prevent breathing in some virus that may be in the air.

5. Disinfect any frequently-used surfaces: Mix 1/3 cup bleach in 1 gallon of water, put into a spray bottle, spray the surface and let it dry for 5 minutes.

Protect Yourself From Virus That You May Have Been in Contact With:

1. Wash your hands:

a. Use soap and water for 20 seconds any time you may have touched a surface that could have virus on it.

b. If no soap and water are handy, use any hand sanitizer.

2. Wear a mask to remind yourself not to touch your face before washing.

Take Care of Your Health

1. If you have any medical issues, see your doctor regularly to keep yourself healthy, especially if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart or lung issues, a condition that limits your immune system, or you take immunospressive drugs, like chemotherapy or certain arthritis medicines

2. Most doctors are using telehealth on a computer or the phone to be there for you. Give them a call.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS, CALL THE HAYWOOD COUNTY COVID-19 HOT LINE AT 828-356-2019

A downloadable copy of these guidelines is available at the link below the Haywood County logo.

05/27/20/ WNC MOAA/ Serious/
Western North Carolina Chapter of the Military Officer's Association of America.
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