Guidelines for veterans care during COVID crisis


SAN LUIS VALLEY — The VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System (ECHCS ) is  dedicated to providing veterans the best care possible throughout the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). ECHCS understands veterans may have concerns about when they will return to ‘normal’ operations and what that will look like moving forward for their health care needs.


Just like most health care systems across the nation, ECHCS has been working hard to prepare both veterans and its employees for the new reality with COVID-19. As communities begin to relax limitations that have helped slow the spread of the virus, VA ECHCS is making plans to expand services at its medical center and clinics.


ECHCS hopes to resume necessary face-to-face visits and some elective procedures in the near future. But in order to do this safely and to protect both veterans and staff, this transition needs to be a gradual and collaborative one between ECHCS staff and the veterans it serves.
*At this time, ECHCS asks that only veterans with urgent and emergent needs to visit its facilities.
Please read below to learn more about what to expect on return to ECHCS facilities with the following safeguards to remain in place:


Required: All persons entering VA ECHCS sites of care are required to wear an ear loop procedure mask while on campus. Screeners can provide a mask at facility entrances. Cloth masks are no longer permitted at this time. Health care providers will wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Entry Point Screenings: Plan to leave home earlier than usual to allow time for mandatory screening prior to entering VA ECHCS sites of care.


Visitor Policy: Please do not bring any visitors to appointments, unless they are required to assist with a veteran’s medical care. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis for humanitarian reasons. Persons providing transportation, but who are not needed to assist with medical care, will be asked to remain outside of the medical center.


Social Distancing: Physical distancing measures are in place in common areas like waiting areas, the canteen and retail stores. All clinic staff, patients, and visitors will adhere to social distancing guidelines.


Virtual Care: VA continues to offer a variety of virtual care tools to support veterans when they need it. Visit www.connectedcare.va.gov to learn about tools like My HealtheVet, VA Telehealth and VA Mobile.


Business Center: The Business Center will continue face-to-face customer service only for new enrollments and new Veterans Health Identification Cards (VHIC) but will be closed for all other in-person customer services until further notice.


Infection Prevention Precautions: ECHCS thoroughly cleans and sanitizes all patient waiting rooms, exam rooms, and other care areas according to the CDC’s recommendations. Remember the most important thing anyone can do to help prevent the spread of illness is frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use at least 60 percent alcohol-based hand cleaners.
Call Us: Those who are sick or have symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or have been exposed to someone with symptoms, please call the Nurse Health line: 303-399-8020 or888-336-8262 (press 2 and select the option that best meets your needs) before visiting ECHCS sites of care. Staff are available 24/7 for nurse advice and triage, health chat and more. Additionally, if anyone is experiencing a mental health crisis, the Veterans Crisis line is available anytime at 1-800-273-8255 (option 1) or call 911.


Current Operating Status: As the coronavirus situation evolves rapidly, please check for the most current operating status of the nearest VA ECHCS site of care at https://www.denver.va.gov/emergency/index.asp


Please know all veterans’ health and well-being are very important to ECHCS and the staff here is committed to serving all veterans. Thank you for your service to our nation and please stay safe. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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