COVID-19 procedures at Ohio's VA facilities
Updated: Mar 20
ALL VBA regional offices
The health and welfare of the more than 24,000 Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) employees is a primary thought in my mind as we, as a nation, face challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The health of the VBA family – including your loved ones – is at the very top of my list of priorities. With that in mind, as well as the safety of our Veteran population, regional offices will be closed to the public until further notice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services have urged every American to take simple precautions to reduce the spread of the virus. These precautions include covering your sneezes and coughs, washing your hands often, and avoiding large crowds. Please continue to be vigilant.
VA Central Ohio Health Care System (Chalmers P Wylie Ambulatory Care Center)
As of Thursday, March 19, the Columbus VA is encouraging all veterans to change their appointments to Telehealth or video conferencing. Call your provider for details. If you are coming to the VA, ALL Veterans will need to enter the Main facility through the front/ South doors. Prior to entry, they will be screened regarding any fever, worsening cough, or exposure to others who potentially have coronavirus. Please plan to park on the South side of the building only.
Again, if you feel sick, please call our triage line at 614-257-5200 option 3. Please continue to practice “social distancing”.
Dayton VA Medical Center
OVID-19 (Coronavirus) prevention measures we are undertaking at the Dayton VA Medical Center and our clinics in Springfield, Lima, Middletown, and Richmond.
A few of you asked for more clarity on the current visitation policy -- great question! Please see the following details, and let us know if you have any additional questions.
INPATIENTS, INCLUDING COMMUNITY LIVING CENTER RESIDENTS
This guidance is unchanged – we cannot permit any visitors for our inpatients, including Community Living Center (CLC) residents, out of an abundance of caution for our Veterans who are most at risk of contracting Coronavirus.We will, of course, continue to make an exception for any Veterans who have reached the final stages of their life. In these unique end-of-life cases, immediate family members will be limited strictly to the Veteran’s room only, to ensure the rest of the Veterans remain safe from possible infection.
Veterans who have an outpatient appointment may bring **one** individual with them for assistance. This individual must not have any flu-like symptoms, and must be 18 years of age or older. No children under the age of 16 can be permitted onto the campus at this time.
We love our valued volunteers, but we must temporarily pause our volunteer program for the safety of both our volunteers and our Veterans. No volunteers will be permitted onto the campus, until further notice.
ENHANCED USE LEASES (the non-VA buildings on our campus)
These restrictions are largely aimed at protecting our buildings where patient care takes place. However, we are asking our enhanced use lease partners to join us in limiting unnecessary visitors to our campus during this global pandemic, out of an abundance of caution for our nation’s heroes.While their staff and residents are still welcome on our campus, we ask that they inform other potential visitors to not come to the campus at this time unless their visit is medically necessary.
We will continue to permit drivers, including Shuttle, Uber, Lyft, and others to enter the campus to pick up or drop off Veterans and staff. Flowers and food deliveries may be made at the front desk.In all scenarios, visitors will continue to be screened at every gate. Those who have flu-like symptoms will be turned away, unless they are a Veteran requiring emergency care.Thank you as always for your patience and adaptability as we undertake the vital work of protecting our vulnerable Veteran population during this global pandemic.I will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Cincinnati VA Medical Center
The Medical Center is not allowing visitors/general public into our facilities except for those directly assisting or caring for a Veteran to include any end of life care.
• A single individual responsible for transporting a patient coming for a procedure or being discharged from the hospital.
Directly assisting or caring for a Veteran is defined as : • A single designated partner or primary caretaker. • End-of-life situations.
Please note: • Each visitor will be screened upon entry to the hospital for symptoms related to COVID-19. • Patients are limited to one visitor at a time. • No visitors under age 18. • Visitors are not permitted to see patients if they exhibit any respiratory illness symptoms (coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever, etc..) • Visitors are not permitted if they have traveled internationally or places with high incidents of COVID-19 within the past 14 days. • All visitors will follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette precautions while in the common areas of the facility.
Chillicothe VA Medical Center Campus
Everyone who enters the campuses will be pre-screened. This may lengthen entry times, so patients are advised to allow for that when arriving for their appointments. At the Chillicothe campus, all traffic is to enter through the South Entrance and follow traffic signs to the screening locations along Cleveland Avenue. Patients entering the CBOCs will be screened at the door prior to admission into the facility.
The screening consists of three questions:
Do you have a fever or worsening cough or shortness of breath or flu-like symptoms?
Have you or a close contact traveled to an area with widespread or sustained community transmission of COVID-19 within 14 days of symptom onset?
Have you been in close contact with someone, including health care workers, confirmed to have COVID-19?
Per Centers for Disease Control guidance and VA protocols, Veterans and visitors known to be at risk for a COVID-19 infection are immediately isolated to prevent potential spread to others.
Take everyday preventive actions to avoid being exposed to the virus:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Stay home if you are sick or becoming sick.
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
If you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms, call your healthcare provider. All Veterans are asked to call the VA, 740-773-1141, extension 5575, before arriving at their appointment.
VA’s visitor guidance:
VA Community Living Centers (CLCs) have adopted a “No Visitor” stance, meaning no outside visitors will be permitted to see residents.
The only exceptions will be in compassionate cases, when Veterans are in their last stages of life on hospice units.
In those cases, visitors will be limited to a specific Veteran’s room only.
CLCs have suspended new admissions.
A CLC staff will evaluate resident transfer requests from VA medical facilities on a case-by-case basis.
CLC staff are actively screened daily and dedicated to working at Community Living Centers.
The VA is also limiting guests in the outpatient and acute care areas.
Like the CLCs, Acute Care areas have adopted a “No Visitor” stance, meaning no outside visitors will be permitted on the units.
Visitors accompanying patients to outpatient appointments will be limited to those providing essential support.
Children under the age of 18 are not permitted.
Effective immediately, the Chillicothe VA gym and pool is open to INPATIENTS ONLY.
The DAV office will be closed until further notice as instructed by the State of Ohio DAV.
For assistance, you can contact someone at the DAV regional office in Cleveland at 216-522-3507.
See the following press release for further information safeguards taken to protect nursing home and spinal cord injury patients: https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5400.
Cleveland VA Medical Center at Wade Park