Current Operating Status - Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas
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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Current Operating Status

Situation Update

As of Wednesday, June 3, 2020 11:33 AM CDT

Your Houston VA Medical Center and community based outpatient clinics are still here to meet your health care needs during the pandemic. While many of our Veteran appointments are being performed virtually via our VA Video Connect app or telephone, we are open for non-elective surgeries, necessary medical procedures, diagnostic imaging and other services necessary to manage the health of our Veteran patients.

What about Care in the Community appointments?

Houston VA staff have continued to attempt to schedule appointments for Veterans eligible for community care throughout the pandemic. However, many community providers closed down for a number of weeks and are reopening with limited capacity due to social distancing requirements. Therefore, many community care appointments are scheduled out farther than we would like or are still awaiting scheduling due to limited community care options. If you are waiting to receive an appointment in the community, please know that your care is important to us and we are working hard to get you this care. We apologize for these delays in community care appointments and are contacting providers daily to attempt to make appointments on your behalf.

COVID-19 Testing for Veterans with Symptoms

Houston VA and our CBOCs continue to test symptomatic inpatient and outpatient Veterans for COVID-19. Your care is managed through your primary care physician at our VA Medical Center and community clinics. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and your primary care doctor determines you need a test, the Houston VA has a drive-thru testing site near our Community Living Center entrance off Old Spanish Trail. In a few short days, drive-thru testing will also be available for Veteran patients in the parking lots of our Lufkin, Katy, and Tomball Clinics. Symptomatic Veterans must receive an appointment from their primary care physician in order to be tested at our drive-thrus.  

COVID-19 Testing for Veterans Undergoing a Procedure or Surgery

Veterans coming in for surgery must be tested for COVID-19, five days before the procedure. Your provider will prepare an order for the COVID-19 testing and our scheduling team will contact you with an appointment time and instructions. Results should be ready within 72 hours and will be provided to you immediately.          

COVID-19 testing is mandatory prior to your surgery. After receiving an appointment, you can be tested in our drive-thru testing at our main medical center campus, located near our Community Living Center entrance. In a few short days we will be offering drive thru testing at our Katy, Tomball, and Lufkin clinic sites as well.  If for any reason you are not able to make your testing appointment day and time, please contact your provider immediately.

Please note: Once your test is collected, you will need to self-quarantine until your scheduled surgery day. This will decrease your chances of contracting the virus prior to your surgery date. Not sure what self-quarantining involves? Ask our scheduling team for more information.  

Can I bring a family member or friend with me when I get my surgery or procedure?

On the day of your procedure or surgery, please arrange to be dropped off at the medical center. To limit foot traffic in our medical center and protect the safety of our Veterans and staff, currently we are not allowing visitors to our medical center, even to accompany Veterans having medical procedures. If you provide us with the name and phone number of your family member or friend who is dropping you off for care, we will be happy to assist you in contacting them when your procedure is over and you are ready for pick up. 

An Emergency is Still an Emergency – Even During the Pandemic

If you’re experiencing concerning symptoms that may require immediate medical attention, don’t let your worry about the coronavirus keep you from heading to the nearest emergency room right away. Even during the pandemic, you can get health care safely at the VA and in the private sector. 

What are we continuing to do to keep you safe?

  • Houston VA and all our clinics are requiring all patients, visitors and employees to wear a face covering (if you forget one, we can provide it to you).
  • We are screening all who enter our facility, to include a temperature check.
  • Patient rooms and frequently-touched surfaces in common areas and employee work places are being cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.
  • Isolating suspected COVID-19 patients in a separate area.
  • Ensuring physical distancing as much as possible in our waiting areas.
  • Limiting visitation to our Medical Center. No visitors are allowed on our inpatient units and Veterans coming in for appointments who need physical assistance are limited to one visitor. 

Thank you for choosing the Houston VA as your health care provider.  It is our honor and privilege to care for the men and women who have served in our nation’s military.  

Resources

Facility Status

Telephone Numbers

  • Emergency: 911
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)
  • 24 Hour Nurse: 713-794-8985 or 1-800-639-5137
  • Change Your Appointment: 713-794-8985 or 1-800-639-5137
  • Media Inquiries: 713-794-7349
  • National Veterans Helpline: 1-800-507-4571
  • Patient Locator: 713-794-8736
  • Pharmacy Refill: 713-794-7648 or 1-800-454-1062
  • Staff Locator: 1-866-233-0152
  • Telephone Care: 713-794-8985 or 1-800-639-5137
  • VA Police: 713-794-7106
  • Employee Helpline: 1-866-233-0152

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VA Mission

It is the Department of Veterans Affair's fourth mission to provide contingency support to the Department of Defense and the Public Health Service during times of disaster or national emergency.