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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA Opens Outpatient Clinic for Displaced New Orleans Veterans

September 7, 2005

HOUSTON - As part of a multi-level plan to provide health care to the Veterans who were evacuated from New Orleans, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) will open the New Orleans Houston-based VA Outpatient Clinic on Thursday, September 8, 2005. This clinic will be located in the Recreation Therapy Gymnasium on the VA complex and provide primary care, pharmacy, and mental health services for hurricane-affected Veterans.

Staff members from the New Orleans VA Medical Center are already at the MEDVAMC and working to provide care to evacuated patients. In addition, VA health care providers including nurses, social workers, pharmacists, administrative personnel, and health care technicians, from North Carolina, California, and other VAMCs are arriving to assist in opening additional beds, clinics, programs, and services.

In order to reach out to displaced Veterans and provide assistance with housing, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits, and employment, MEDVAMC outreach coordinators and social workers are working with Houston-area shelters including the Astrodome and the George R. Brown Convention Center.

The MEDVAMC Homeless Program has already placed 61 homeless Veterans from Louisiana in the Mid Town Terrace, a facility operated by US VETS. U.S. VETS is the largest organization in the country dedicated to helping homeless Veterans, and a nationally recognized leader in the field of service delivery to Veterans.

The MEDVAMC Patient Reception Team (PRT) at Ellington Field has accomplished its mission. The great majority of sick and injured have now been evacuated from New Orleans. A small team remains at Ellington Field in the event of an emergency medical transport flight. Since opening on August 31, 2005, the PRT triaged 726 patients from 21 military transport flights, admitting approximately 100 patients to the MEDVAMC.

The VA has established toll free information numbers for Veterans from VA Gulf Coast Health Care System (Biloxi and Gulfport campuses) and the New Orleans VA Medical Center, 1-800-507-4571. Families and friends requiring information about patients from those VA Medical Centers (VAMC) and Veterans 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. The phone line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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