COVID-19 Update, (March 30, 2020)
Numerous changes begin at our Omaha VAMC facility (see map HERE) including outdoor screening, a drive-thru pharmacy service, a change to our outpatient lab draw.
Here is a list of what will be changing on our Omaha VA Hospital Campus:
- Omaha VAMC Entry/Exit Control Points: Veterans suspected of COVID-19 through the screening process, will enter via the Emergency Department entry while Veterans receiving non-COVID-19 related treatment will enter near the Outpatient Lab and exit near the Anticoagulation Clinic. Look for new signs to be deployed next week.
- Outpatient Lab Draws Moving To Building 8: Outpatient lab draws will move to Building 8 off Center Street. (Look for signs)
- Traffic Screening: The Omaha VAMC will establish a traffic screening station on Tuesday, March 31, outside of Building 4 on the Omaha VAMC campus. The station will direct COVID-19 and Non-COVID-19 Veterans to the appropriate entry control points.
- Drive Thru Pharmacy: The Omaha VAMC will begin drive-thru pharmacy services in the circle area in front of the hospital.
VA NWIHCS leaders will conduct a virtual Veterans Town Hall on Facebook live tomorrow, March 31, from 5-6 p.m https://www.facebook.com/
B. Don Burman, MHA, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, takes a moment to speak to our Veterans concerning the current changes and challenges at our NWI facilities. See HERE
COVID-19 Update, (March 25, 2020)
Visitor Restrictions effective immediately
The VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System has increased our precautionary measures. Effective immediately, visitors of any age will no longer be permitted at any of our facilities, including all of our CBOCs facilities under NWI. Exceptions will be made for compassionate care and Veterans requiring a support person/attendant during outpatient visits. These restrictions apply to all visitors, including inpatient and those presenting for outpatient appointments. Traffic flow pattern changes and pre-screening before entering our facilities remain in place
Please note that the Grand Island VA Medical Center will begin vehicle COVID-19 verbal screening today, March 25. Veterans will still be able to enter the Medical Center from North Broadwell Avenue. Employees – including providers – will enter the Employee Lot via North Wheeler Avenue.
As a reminder, Veterans with medication needs should utilize the Pharmacy Call Center and refrain from reporting directly to the medical center. Call 1-855-560-1722 then follow the prompts for refills, renewals, questions or concerns you may have. Thank you for your cooperation as we continue to do are part to create a safe and healthy environment for our Veterans.
Here are the questions you should expect:
1. Do you currently have any of the following symptoms:
fever, new or worsening cough or shortness of breath,
or flu-like symptoms?
2. Have you been contacted by the Public Health Department
within the last two weeks stating that you have been
potentially exposed to the Coronavirus?
3. Have you been in close contact with someone, including a
healthcare worker, confirmed to have the Coronavirus?
Screenings could cause possible delays, so please allow for enough time to make it to your appointments.
COVID-19 Update, (March 18, 2020)
The VA Nebraska Western Iowa Health Care System (VA NWIHCS) are closely monitoring the current COVID-19 outbreak in our communities and is taking pro-active measures to ensure the safety of our Veterans, families and VA staff members.
We are limiting visitors to our medical care facilities. Effective immediately, only visitors without symptoms will be permitted to enter VA medical facilities. No visitors under the age of 18 are permitted, including infants. Visitors are also not allowed to wait in facility common areas including canteen area, waiting rooms, or vending areas. Visitors returning from international travel must have been in the United States, symptom-free, for 14 days. Finally, access will be determined on a case-by-case basis where the visitor is critical to the care of the Veteran.
The following services have been curtailed at VA NWIHCS facilities:
Audiology – closed to walk-ins
Ophthalmology – Emergencies only – call ahead
Dental clinics (all campuses) - Emergencies only – call ahead
Surgery clinics – routine/elective referrals cancelled – emergency referrals only
All clinics are pre-screening appointments to maximize tele-care.
Veterans Urged To Call Ahead
Please call ahead to our VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System Medical Center or Community-Based Outpatient Clinic before going to a clinic, urgent care or emergency room, especially if you have symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Calling first helps us protect you, medical staff and other patients. Ask your VA health care team about the option of care by phone or video instead of an in-patient visit.
COVID-19 Testing Limited
At this time, testing for the COVID virus is still very limited in the NWIHCS service area. Most patients with flu-like illness will not qualify for testing – it is only available for the most severe cases at this time. Patients concerned about possible COVID exposure can call their primary care provider to discuss their symptoms. We have also opened a special online clinic to evaluate patients for COVID by video or phone. Patients concerned about COVID exposure should limit activities and interaction with other people for 14 days. If no symptoms develop during that time, they did not contract the virus. For veterans with symptoms, we can do testing for influenza and other respiratory viruses – as we have had many cases positive for those viruses in recent weeks.
Keep Up To Date:
You can also more about the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID 19) pandemic here: https://www.va.gov/
COVID-19 Update (March 10, 2020)
To protect our Veterans and Staff at The VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, each facility will be screening questions to all visitors for COVID-19 upon arrival, here are the questions:
1. Do you currently have any of the following symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough or shortness of breath, or flu-like symptoms?
2. Have you been contacted by the Public Health Department within the last two weeks stating that you have been potentially exposed to the Coronavirus?
3. Have you been in close contact with someone, including a healthcare worker, confirmed to have the Coronavirus?
Screenings could cause possible delays, so please allow for enough time to make it to your appointments. Thanks for your understanding as we continue to implement measures to ensure the safety of all who enter our facilities.
COVID-19 Update (March 8, 2020)
With the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Nebraska, VA Nebraska Western Iowa Health Care System (VA NWIHCS) is continuing to actively plan, prepare and take action to control and prevent the spread of the illness. As always, the VA NWIHCS’ top priority is the health and safety of our Veterans, families, staff and community at large. We are implementing several changes as part of that commitment to safety. While we know that some of the changes may cause instances of inconvenience to our Veterans and families, safety – as always – is our number one goal.
Have an outpatient or primary care appointment in the next 2 weeks?
As a precaution to protect the community, VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System Medical Centers and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.
If you or your Veteran has appointment scheduled within the next 14 days at any one of our facilities,
AND You or your Veteran has traveled outside of the United States in the last 30 days or have been in contact with anyone who has traveled outside of the United States
AND You or your Veterans have signs of illness, please contact your VA medical provider to complete a travel and wellness screening over the phone prior to coming in for your scheduled appointment. The short screening involved a few questions and will take just a few minutes to complete. You will be asked about your history of travel and if anyone in your household has fever, cough or shortness of breath.
VA NWIHCS is recommending that any Veteran who has a previously scheduled appointment to call ahead first. In some cases, appointments may either be conducted over the phone or utilizing the VA’s "Telehealth” technology, or may be rescheduled.
Updated Visitor Protocol at VA NWIHCS Locations
All individuals entering a VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System Medical Center, Community-Based Outpatient Clinic or other facilities, will be screened for travel and wellness upon arrival. Further, entry into the Omaha, Grand Island and Lincoln will be restricted (please follow posted directions) Additionally, visitors will be limited within the facility beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, March 9, 2020.
Hospital Visitor Restrictions
To protect the health of Veterans, families and staff, effective March 9th 2020, the following will be implemented to the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System facilities in response to the increase of viral illnesses in our community.
Within the Omaha and Grand Island VA Medical Centers – to include Grand Island’s Community Living Center:
-One caregiver per patient
-Children will only be allowed if there are no other alternatives for their care and they are asymtpomatic.
-Children must remain in patient room.
Additionally, the Grand Island Community Living Center will implement Coronavirus screening for all visitors. Please stop at the front desk to answer questions about your health and do not proceed till you have been signed in and received a Visitor Sticker.
The VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System team continues to proactively plan, prepare and respond to this emerging public health threat, with COVID-19 screening areas at its Nebraska and Western Iowa campuses as well as all of its community based outpatients clinics across our network. Veterans and staff are encouraged to take every day preventative 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 the VA before going to the facility.
For more information about the Coronavirus, please visit: https://www.va.gov/
If you need to reach the Pharmacy Call Center for refills, renewals or questions
contact 1-855-560-1722 ext. 2
If you have any questions about your appointment or want to reschedule call 1-800-451-5796.
You can also get updates on social media: https://www.facebook.
com/NebraskaIowaVA/, http://twitter.com/VANWIHCS and https://www.instagram.com/
nebraskaiowava/ . If you would like to receive automated updates via email, please sign up with your email address on our website - https://www.nebraska.va.gov/
index.asp - look under the social media icons on right for "Subscribe to Receive Email Updates."