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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Hurricane Rita Status Update - Saturday, September 24, 2005,
5 p.m.

September 24, 2005

  1. The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) is currently preparing to receive patients from hurricane-affected areas in southeast Texas and Louisiana. Toward this effort and because of conditions in the area, the MEDVAMC has cancelled all outpatient clinic appointments in Houston, Galveston, Texas City, Beaumont, and Lufkin, and all compensation and pension examination appointments, on Monday, September 26, 2005 and Tuesday, September 27, 2005.
  2. The Charles Wilson VA Outpatient Clinic and the Mental Health building in Lufkin appear to have suffered little physical damage from the storm. The status of the Beaumont clinic is unknown. The Facilities Management Service Line continues to work to correct an electrical problem affecting half of the MEDVAMC.
  3. All MEDVAMC employees should immediately contact their supervisors to receive further instructions.
  4. As determined by individual supervisors, those employees not needed to provide for the safety of patients/property and emergency response activities are excused from duty on Monday, September 26, 2005 and Tuesday, September 27, 2005. You will be given administrative leave for these two days. Please immediately contact your supervisor for guidance and to provide your correct contact information.
  5. Staff relief rotations for essential personnel are being worked by individual supervisors. You are required to man your post until you are personally relieved by the next shift.
  6. The Command Center will remain 24-hour operational with all desks staffed until further notice.  Emergency response activity calls may be directed to (713) 794-8289.
  7. Veterans who need medical advice should call the VA Network Telecare Center Hotline at (713) 794-8985 or toll-free 1-800-639-5137. Registered nurses, pharmacists, and administrative clerks are ready to answer veteran health care questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The VA Network Telecare Center is not for life-threatening emergencies. Veterans with life-threatening emergencies should immediately call 911.
  8. In addition, 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. 
  9. It is important for all MEDVAMC employees to wear their VA identification badges at all times.   
  10. The MEDVAMC will continue to keep you updated on personnel, patient, weather, and facility issues as information becomes available. Information flyers are posted near elevator banks around the MEDVAMC. Information is also available by calling the MEDVAMC Information Hotline at (713) 791-1414, ext. 3647 and through local media outlets.