VA Health Care Services implement plans to safely expand

Facilities begin increasing most services by 25 % percent across the state

Columbia, SC (WOLO) —The Columbia VA Health Care System is implementing a plan to safely expand health care services at all of their locations statewide.

Monday, the facility began the steps to this process by increasing most services by 25 percent of the services that were being offered when COVID-19 cases first started to impact South Carolina back in March.

Officials say they’re anticipating a jump in volume while they strive to keep giving health assistance with the same level of pre pandemic care members have been use to receiving.

Part of the VA’s Moving Forward Plan will include more personalized virtual care options with safety features lkke telehealth, phone consults and wellness checks, while other more specific care needs will be conducted through face to face encounters.

The VA says they will accommodate expanded face-to-face appointments, when clinically necessary, which will depend on the service requested.

The VA facility in Columbia will continue to offer and prioritize appointments for a variety of services via virtual modalities, that Dorn VA officials say have been a valuable link to our veterans during the pandemic.

Even with the slow and cautious reopening, officials say walk in clinics will still be unavailable for the time being. Note: Only confirmed and scheduled patients will be allowed into the facility, unless they are experiencing a medical emergency.

 

“The safety of veterans and staff is the highest priority when we consider how we can provide health care services and procedures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Omura, medical center director and chief executive officer. “VA will consider guidance from various agencies including federal, state and local government as we gradually reintroduce additional health care services. As a high reliability organization, safety is always paramount and will continue to guide our decision making.”

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the VA was providing around 3,700 outpatient appointments on a daily basis. Within the past week alone, the demand for service has already increased to 3,100 daily.

There are still some adjustments that will have to be made as health officials work within CDC guidleines, all areosol generating procedures in accordance with CDC guidelines, will remain postponed. Officials say this will give them some extra time to address how certain procedures can be performed safely moving forward.  Health officials say,

“The Columbia VA will continue to follow and monitor CDC guidelines pertaining to these procedures, and will make any necessary modifications as guidelines change.”

In terms of safety measures for those inside facilities, The Veterans Health Administration has created a risk-based framework to prioritize the difference between non-urgent procedures and urgent services already being performed.

Per CDC guidelines, it will now be mandatory for all employees and veterans to undergo COVID-19 screenings, wear universal and appropriate personal protective equipment such as face coverings or face shields, physical distancce, and frequently disinfect high-touch services.

Categories: Health, Local News, Richland, State