Salem VA Med Center selected as a lead facility to reintroduce healthcare services after COVID-19 shutdowns

(Photo: Courtesy U.S. Air Force / Carrie Volpe)

(Photo: Courtesy U.S. Air Force / Carrie Volpe)

SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — As the Commonwealth begins to reopen following COVID-19 shutdowns, the Salem VA Medical Center (SVAMC) will not only reintroduce healthcare services, but also expand some services starting Tuesday, May 26.

Each Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) selects lead facilities to be the first to implement a phased reintroduction approach for healthcare services while guaranteeing a safe environment, and according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday, May 19, SVAMC has been selected as one of those facilities.

“The safety of Veterans and staff is the highest priority when we consider how we provide health care services and procedures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Rebecca Stackhouse, Salem VAMC Director says. “VA will take into account guidance from various agencies including federal, state and local government as we gradually reintroduce health care services. As a high reliability organization, safety is always paramount and will continue to guide our decision making.”

Officials say the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has developed a risk-based framework to prioritize non-urgent procedures and urgent procedures currently being performed. Decisions for expansions or schedules will be guided by evaluating factors such as patient health, staff safety, and resource considerations, according to Tuesday’s news release.

Strict safety measures like COVID-19 screenings for both employees and veterans, physical distancing, utilization of appropriate PPE, and frequent disinfection of high-touch surfaces will continue at all VHA facilities, officials say.

In addition, SVAMC will continue to take advantage of personalized virtual care options — such as VA Video Connect, telehealth, phone consultations, and wellness checks — and as more facilities start to reintroduce healthcare services, SVAMC will share the best of those practices with all facilities across the U.S., Tuesday’s statement says.

For more information about the expansion of healthcare services, veterans are asked to contact SVAMC or their provider before arriving at the SVAMC campus.

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