Associated Press: As virus spreads, VA gets set to back up taxed US hospitals

“The Department of Veterans Affairs is bracing for a potential surge of 1 million veterans infected by coronavirus and at the same time is preparing for the possibility it may have to absorb overflow civilian patients if private hospitals are overrun by the pandemic.”

“Based on a ‘worst case’ scenario that up to 1 in 5 of its mostly elderly population of veterans will need coronavirus care, the government-run hospital system is seeking $16.6 billion in emergency money, according to a VA document submitted to Congress and obtained by The Associated Press.”

“The money would be used over six months to ramp up COVID-19 testing, cover hospital care and protective masks for 4,500 more veterans, add medical ventilators, boost online telehealth options as Americans continue to hunker at home and pay for 40,000 more urgent care visits…”

“During national emergencies such as the one declared by President Donald Trump last week, the VA not only serves 9 million veterans but also acts as a backup health care system to the broader public.”

“If called upon by states and the Health and Human Services Department, the VA network of 170 hospitals, 1,074 outpatient sites and more than 350,000 employees could provide care to first responders and civilians in hard-hit communities…” Read the full article here.

Source: As virus spreads, VA gets set to back up taxed US hospitals – By Hope Yen, March 19, 2020. Associated Press and ABC News.

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