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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Hurricane Rita Preparations Update Friday, September 23, 2005

September 23, 2005

  1. In response to the approach of Hurricane Rita toward the Texas Gulf Coast, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) continues to make final preparations for extreme weather. Health care and support staff is on-site to care for the needs of veteran patients at the MEDVAMC.
  2. Presently, all employees without assignments and all available family members are strongly encouraged to stop by Human Resources on the 4th Floor near the Main Elevators to add their names and contact information for the labor pool.  Runners, patient escorts, and people to answer phones are urgently needed.
  3. A Daycare Center has been established in Room 5B-166 to care for dependent children under the age of 18. A table is located immediately outside the room for registration and name tags. If you have questions, please call the Daycare Center at ext. 6323.
  4. A Pet Center has been established in the basement, Rooms BC-201 and BC-100. If you have a pet, you must immediately report to the Pet Center to coordinate temporary boarding. There are no exceptions.
  5. The VA Canteen Service will be open and operational during the next few days. The cafeteria’s hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 23-25, 2005, are 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. for steam table service, 4 -7 p.m. for steam table service, and 7 - 9 p.m. for convenience items. The retail store will be open 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. on these three days.
  6. It is important for all MEDVAMC employees to wear their VA identification badges at all times.   
  7. While the MEDVAMC does have emergency power generators for electrical disruptions, all critical equipment, and only critical equipment, should be plugged into red outlets. Nursing Units should ensure working flashlights are on hand. If you have any questions, please contact FMSL at ext. 8288.
  8. Immediately after the storm, all MEDVAMC employees, both essential and non-essential, are required to check in with their status, location, and contact information by calling 1-866-233-0152. Operators will be available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.
  9. The Veteran Health Care Hotline, 1-800-507-4571, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This phone number may also be used by family and friends of veterans requiring information about patients from those VA facilities affected by Hurricane Rita. 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. 
  10. Yesterday, September 22, 2005, the MEDVAMC passed the first test of Hurricane Rita with flying colors. The MEDVAMC Patient Reception Team was activated at Ellington Field to coordinate the transfer of non-veteran patients from community hospitals, nursing homes, and area shelters to facilities outside of southeast Texas.
  11. During the next few days, the MEDVAMC will keep you updated on personnel, patient, weather, and facility issues as information becomes available. If we do lose power, updates will be distributed to Nursing Units and posted near elevator banks around the MEDVAMC. Information is also be available by calling the MEDVAMC Information Hotline at (713) 791-1414, ext. 3647 or through local media outlets.