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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Patient Reception Team Triaged 102 Patients Yesterday, More Expected Today

September 4, 2005

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center's
Patient Reception Team (PRT) at Ellington Field
continues to operate 24 hours a day.

Houston - Beginning at 11:10 a.m. through 11:45 p.m. on September 3, 2005, the PRT received 4 aircraft. From these, the PRT medically triaged 102 patients and dispatched them to community hospitals, the MEDVAMC, and community support facilities. The MEDVAMC admitted 7 veteran and 2 non-veteran patients from these aircraft.  In addition, the MEDVAMC continues to receive walk-in veterans from hurricane-affected areas in need of medical treatment.

The PRT has received notice to prepare for the arrival of 3 military transport aircraft today, September 4, 2005. Transportation logistics are complex and timeframes remain difficult to determine because of the enormous relief effort taking place along the devastated Gulf Coast area.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James “Jim” Nicholson will be in Houston on Tuesday, September 6, 2005 to visit veterans and staff evacuated from the New Orleans VA Medical Center and to express his support and thanks to MEDVAMC staff and the city of Houston.

The South Central VA Health Care Network has established a toll free number for veterans who received care at the VA Gulf Coast Health Care System (Biloxi and Gulfport campuses) and the New Orleans VA Medical Center. The telephone number, 1-800-507-4571, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This phone number may also be used by families and friends requiring information about patients from those VA facilities affected by Hurricane Katrina. Veterans may call with questions such as where to access health care, how to receive their prescription drugs, or any other concerns they may have about their care.  Addition information can be found at

Another toll free number is available to provide information to employees of the VA Gulf Coast Health Care System (Biloxi and Gulfport campuses) and the New Orleans VA Medical Center. This number, 1-888-766-2474, is open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. (CDT) daily. Employees may also receive information from the network’s Web site at

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