VA ‘Ready to Surge Capabilities’ if Coronavirus Overwhelms Civilian Health Care Systems

FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2017 file photo, the exterior of the Veterans Affairs Department hospital is shown in east Denver. Investigators with the VA Office of Inspector General found that the hospital violated policy by keeping improper wait lists to track veterans' mental health care, confirming a whistleblower’s …
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The Department of Veterans Affairs stands “ready to surge” capabilities to supplement civilian health care systems in case they get overwhelmed, the department’s spokeswoman said in a statement to Breitbart News on Wednesday.

“VA stands ready to surge capabilities into civilian health care systems in the event those systems encounter capacity issues, but at this time they are not encountering such issues,” VA Press Secretary Christina Mandreucci said in an email.

“VA facilities are equipped with essential items and supplies to handle an influx of coronavirus cases,” she said.

She said as of Friday, the VA had 13,000 acute care beds, including 1,800 intensive care unit beds.

Any requests for VA assistance would come through the Department of Health and Human Services, which is leading the federal response to coronavirus.

“When a State, Tribe, or Territory has determined that the maximum capacity of intrastate or interstate resources are exhausted, they may request assistance from the federal government through their local HHS Regional Emergency Coordinator (REC),” she said.

She said the VA began emergency preparedness exercises weeks before coronavirus was confirmed in the U.S.

In addition, the VA has deployed a Liaison Officer to the HHS Secretary’s Operations Center, 16 Nursing Assistants to assist HHS/CDC with screening of repatriated Americans at the Travis Air Force Base, and five Area Emergency Managers to assist with the HHS Incident Management Teams on the ground at each repatriation site, she said.

She said the VA is making sure its health care facilities are safe.

“VA has proactively implemented appropriate measures to ensure the safest health care environment for each Veteran, visitor and employee,” she said.

“These measures include multi-channel outreach to Veterans and staff, clinical screening at VA health care facilities, as well as protective procedures for patients admitted to community living centers and spinal cord injury units,” she said.

 

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