Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Hurricane Ike Daily Update: Saturday, September 13, 2008, 10 a.m.

September 13, 2008

  1. At this time, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) has suffered no known physical damage from the storm.  There are several trees down, two broken windows from flying debris, and a few dozen window leaks. The facility is operating under emergency generator power like many parts of Southeast Texas; however, patient care needs are being met. Air coolers are being used in critical care areas.  Throughout the storm, the VA computerized patient record system continued to operate as normal assisting health care professionals to provide uninterrupted patient care.
  2. Because Houston Emergency Management Officials believe travel is dangerous at this time due to flooding, power outages, and downed trees/power lines, the MEDVAMC strongly discourages patients or staff to try to reach the facility.  Veterans with life-threatening emergencies should immediately call 911.
  3. Until an All-Clear has been announced by the MEDVAMC director, employees are not authorized to leave the MEDVAMC. If you leave the building before this time, you are subject to adverse personnel action. In addition, you and your family member(s) will not be allowed to return until the MEDVAMC returns to normal operations.
  4. The VA Canteen is open, but operating with limited hours and staff.  On-duty employees have priority for food service. Family members should not rely on the VA Canteen for meals. Lunch and dinner will be served 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.  You should expect long lines and exercise patience.
  5. The Daycare Center is located in the Primary Care Space Clinic on the 1st Floor for the minor children of on-duty MEDVAMC employees only. Off-duty employees and family members are required to care for their own children.
  6. Pet owners are advised to walk, feed and water their pets at their earliest convenience.  You are responsible for any necessary clean up.
  7. It is mandatory for all MEDVAMC employees to wear their VA identification badges and family members to wear their identification badges at all times. Individuals not wearing identification and unattended children will be detained by the VA Police.
  8. Because of water conservation measures, showers are extremely limited. Employees have priority for available showers and may obtain guidance on location and times from their supervisor and/or floor monitors.  Showers in patient rooms are off limits.
  9. Currently, only one elevator per bank is operational at this time. Elevator use is limited to patient care activities only.  Employees and family members must use the stairs. If you have any questions, please contact Logistics at ext. 8554.
  10. On-duty staff members, who have been unable to contact family members or believe they have damage to their homes, should contact the Emergency Operations Center at (713) 794-7483.
  11. During the next few days, the MEDVAMC will keep you updated on personnel, patient, weather, and facility issues as information becomes available. Information is also available by calling the MEDVAMC Automated Information Line at (713) 794-8989 or 1-800-553-2278, ext. 8989 or visiting the MEDVAMC Web site, www.houston.va.gov.
  12. 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.
  13. Evacuated veterans with urgent care needs requiring continuing care may contact any VA facility by dialing 1-800-507-4571.  This phone number may also be used by families and friends requiring information about patients from those VA facilities affected by natural and man-made disasters.  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.
  14. Evacuated VA employees are required to check in with their status, location, and contact information by calling 1-866-233-0152.  Operators are available 24 hours, seven days a week until further notice.  You may call as soon as you have made evacuation plans and have contact information available or within 48 hours of the hurricane.
  15. The following services will be held in the MEDVAMC Chapel located on the 2nd Floor:  Catholic Mass (meets Sunday obligation), 4 p.m., today; Protestant service, 9 a.m., Sunday, September 14; and Catholic Mass, 10 a.m., Sunday, September 14.
Incident Commander 713.794.7262
Planning 713.794.7298/7428
Operations 713.794.7371
Public Affairs 713.794.7490
Patient Information 713.794.8736
Social Work 713.794.8553
Safety 713.794.7483
Police 713.794.8406
Finance 713.794.7598
Logistics 713.794.8554
Emergency Mgr Coordinator 713.794.8994