VA secretary preparing to deploy thousands of emergency personnel to assist coronavirus response

“The Department of Veterans Affairs is readying thousands of emergency personnel to be deployed to help reinforce the national response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie.”

“‘They know that they can be deployed anywhere in the country. Just like the reserves, their physicals are up to date, their shots are up to date. That prepares them to launch when called upon,’ Wilkie told Politico in an interview Thursday.”

“While the VA provides healthcare services to veterans, the agency can also serve as an emergency backup health care resource for civilians in crisis situations. Hospital systems in the US could be overwhelmed by an influx of patients if the spread of the virus doesn’t slow…”

“The VA would deploy ‘doctors, nurses, psychologists, engineers, nutritionists, police,’ and provide resources including a mobile hospital, medical vans, and mobile pharmacies, Wilkie told Politico…”

“The department is already dealing with treating COVID-19 among its veteran patients, which is expected to increase, and trying to contain the virus among the 9.5 million veterans it serves.”

“The VA recently requested more than $16 billion as part of the White House’s funding request to Congress late Tuesday for the cost of treatment, testing, personal protective equipment, and the temporary conversion and expansion of intensive care units — a sign that the VA needs significantly more resources.”

“The department has also taken measures to minimize the spread of the virus, cutting back on routine appointments, limiting dental surgeries and canceling elective surgeries. The VA also adopted a ‘no visitors’ policy to the 134 nursing homes it operates to protect its elderly veterans, who are most vulnerable to the virus…” Read the full article here.

Source: VA secretary says he’s prepping to deploy emergency personnel for coronavirus response – By Veronica Stracqualursi and Zachary Cohen, March 20, 2020. CNN.

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