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Resources for Veterans

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for all Americans, including veterans. The resources below outline what the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and its medical facilities are doing to protect and care for veterans during the outbreak.

The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly, and veterans and their families are encouraged to consult VA’s Website for the most current information. Guidance from local VA medical facilities about their current operating status is available on each facility’s website, which can be found through VA’s Facility Locator Tool.

The VA has created the COVID-19 Chatbot, an automated service to help address your questions. I encourage you to visit it if you have questions. Below are answers to some of the most common questions my office has received.

How can I stay informed about COVID-19 vaccines at VA?
The VA is working closely with the CDC and other federal partners to provide COVID-19 vaccines to Veterans and VA health care personnel. Click here to Get the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccines at VA. The VA continues to follow a phased plan based on VA and CDC COVID-19 risk criteria. Please note that you do not need to call the VA or come to a VA health facility to reserve or request a vaccine. VA staff will only provide vaccines to Veterans and caregivers who are currently eligible for one based on VA and CDC risk criteria and will contact you when you’re eligible.

What should veterans do if they think they have COVID-19?
Before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities, veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms — such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath — are encouraged to call their VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected). Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment. This may include referral to state or local health departments for COVID-19 testing.

Can I get a COVID test at the VA facility?
VA facilities are offering diagnostic testing for Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care and meet theCDC testing criteria. At this time, the VA is not charging a copay for testing. 
Learn how to apply for VA health care if you don’t already have it.

To get a test, you must have an appointment. You can request an appointment in any of these 3 ways: 

For your safety, please don’t go in person to a VA health care facility without an appointment.Please also be aware that everyone who enters VA facilities will be screened for COVID-19, and must wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose. If you have more questions about testing, please call MyVA411 main information line at 800-698-2411 (TTY: 711).

What about routine appointments and previously scheduled procedures? 
VA is encouraging all veterans to call their VA facility before seeking any care — even previously scheduled medical visits, mental health appointments, or surgical procedures. Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet and find out whether they should still come in for their scheduled appointments. VA providers may arrange to convert appointments to Video Visits, where possible and veterans should feel free to request telehealth appointments from their VA providers.

Can visitors still access VA medical facilities? 
Many VA medical facilities have cancelled public events for the time being, and VA is urging all visitors who do not feel well to postpone their visits to local VA medical facilities. Facilities have also been directed to limit the number of entrances through which visitors can enter. Upon arrival, all patients, visitors, and employees will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and possible exposure.

Still have questions? Call my office today.
For answers to more questions no addressed here, I encourage you to call my office at 315-732-0713 or visit the VA’s Frequently Asked Questions Page for more information on what veterans need to know about seeking care at VA facilities during this time. The VA’s website has a host of comprehensive resources available.