COVID-19: Is The VA Doing Enough?

by | Mar 18, 2020 | Resources, VA Hospitals, Veteran's Benefits, Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits

COVID-19: Is The VA Doing Enough?

This week, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs has confirmed that they’ve seen their first death due to COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus.

The patient, in his 70’s, passed away in Portland, Oregon said the VA, before going on to note that they’ve now seen quite the uptick in confirmed and/or presumed positive COVID-19 cases, moving up from 16 to 30.

Unfortunately, older veterans are the most highly vulnerable and are far more prone to infection.

Having this knowledge, the VA took steps to make sure they’ve been protecting that specific class of patients – most notably by rolling out a strict “no visitor” policy (Mar.,10th), in a largescale effort to aid in lowering the amount of exposure older veterans may have.

However, one VA nurse told ABC News that she is ” really concerned about not having enough equipment.”

Is The VA Fighting Back?

As of last Friday, the VA administered over 130 total tests, which is over 50 more than that same Wednesday – however, the amount is more than likely going to double as this horrible virus continues to roll on. They’re estimated to also be tracking upwards of 40 cases – if not more, said a VA spokesperson.

Roughly 30% of VA Nurses believed that they had enough protective equipment available, according to an NNU survey, but confusion quickly occurred when some, if not all, were unclear on if they should or should not be wearing a mask at all times.

According to CNN, the VA has possession of 3,000 COVID-19 test kits (1,000 from the CDC) and 2,000 VA-developed test kits, which will only be used if they’ve deemed the situation absolutely necessary. If any of their employees have traveled outside the U.S., the VA has asked them to reach out to their facility’s health department, or if they’re displaying flu-like symptoms; attempting to isolate at home, to please call their doctors from their computer or smartphone, so that they can attempt to reach the VA virtually.

David Shulkin Speaks Out

Former VA Secretary, David Shulkin said, that if he was still in charge of the VA, he would have “already issued directive” to combat the coronavirus. He went on to say that although the VA has more rooms than any other healthcare system in the United States, it’d only work well if they were properly and effectively staffed.


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