VA Portland Health Care System
Veteran Connection Newsletter - May 2020
During these unprecedented times, writing my quarterly greetings for the newsletter has a very different feel.
First and foremost, your VA is open and seeing our Veterans every day. Much of our care is virtual using telephone visits or video telehealth, but face-to-face care is still occurring. We are still doing surgeries and procedures that cannot wait and our Emergency Department is open 24/7 seeing Veterans every day. If you are not feeling well, please reach out to your primary care team. Use of secure messaging in MyHealtheVet is at an all time high. This is a great way to connect. You can also use the telephone numbers you have always used to reach your primary care team (503-220-8262, opn. 2). Similarly, this works for those needing to connect with their mental health provider (existing patients, call 503-273-5058, choose the clinic; new Mental Health appointments, call 503-220-8262, ext. 56409). We have really expanded our virtual capabilities and we now have regular mental health groups that are connecting using Veteran Video Connect (VVC). We have also implemented curb side pharmacy service so you do not need to come into the facility to pickup a prescription. As always, we prefer to do all medications by mail, but that is not always possible. In those times you need to come in, we are providing curbside service to limit your exposure to others and to expedite your receipt of necessary medication. We are also asking all who need to come to any of our locations of care to wear a mask or other face covering. This is to protect you, your caregivers and our staff. Your considerations of this is greatly appreciated.
So now what?
As we plan to resume regular services, we are being very cautious. Beginning in the second week in May, we will be increasing the number of surgeries and procedures we are performing. Those in most need will be scheduled first and we will slowly increase volumes. If you are scheduled for surgery or a procedure, you may be asked to come in about 48 hours prior to your procedure for COVID-19 testing. We are going to continue inpatient visitor restrictions at the Community Living Center (CLC) in Vancouver as well. We are looking at how to best open all sights of care so we can ensure social distancing and keep everyone safe. Your clinics may look a little different as we explore options to spread folks out a little. We are going to encourage people not to congregate in waiting rooms, canteen and coffee shop areas. We will continue to encourage masks. If you develop any symptoms of infection with COVID-19, do not come in. Call your primary care provider and they will do an assessment and determine the best plan of action.
Thank you all for your support and understanding. Our number one goal is your health and safety. Please be patient as we all adjust to our new reality.