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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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VA's Computerized Patient Record System Allows Houston Veteran Evacuees to Receive Care Nationwide

September 14, 2008

Veteran evacuees can obtain health care at any VA
medical center so patients’ health care does not suffer.

DALLAS – With Hurricane Ike on the horizon, many veterans in southeast Texas were ordered to evacuate the area. Today, hundreds are far from their homes, staying with relatives or in shelters and hotels as far away as Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kentucky. But due to VA’s progressive Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS), all patient records, prescriptions, and laboratory and radiology results on every Houston-area VA patient are available at any VA medical center and by any VA physician nationwide.

“Veterans who receive their health care at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center do not have to worry about their medical history and files,” said Edgar L. Tucker, director, MEDVAMC. “Their information is completely electronic. That means no matter where they are, any VA physician can treat them with the same knowledge and skill as their regular doctor.”

When Michael Smith from Gavleston, Tx. evacuated to the Dallas area on September 11, 2008 in an effort to keep him safe from Ike’s landfall, he visited the Dallas VA Medical Center to fill a needed prescription. 

“VA staff didn’t have to spend time calling and mailing files from the Houston VA to fill Mr. Smith’s request,” said Joseph M. Dalpiaz, director, VA North Texas Health Care System.  “Because we are fortunate to operate under a paper-less system, we had his prescription filled quickly. That’s the beauty of CPRS.”

With a disaster of this magnitude, many Houston area residents could be without proper and timely health care because they had to evacuate to other parts of the country.

The VA’s CPRS system certainly paid off during this crisis situation, allowing Houston area veterans who evacuated the opportunity to obtain immediate and uninterrupted quality health care at any VA medical center around the country.

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