Work Status for Employees - Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas
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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Work Status for Employees

Situation Update

As of Wednesday, March 25, 2020 9:52 AM CDT

Director statement regarding reporting for duty:

In response to confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Houston area and surrounding counties, MEDVAMC is taking proactive steps to prevent the risk of infection or its spread to Veterans, employees, and visitors at the Houston VA and its CBOCs. We note this is an evolving situation. For Veterans, families, and visitors, that means your VA visit will be different for a while. As a community, our goal is to contain or prevent spread of COVID-19. 

WHAT DO VETERANS AND VISITORS NEED TO KNOW?

Who can come to the facility?
Only Veterans and those with official business are allowed access to our buildings. We are doing most patient care via phone, VA Video Connect, or MyHealtheVet. To protect the health and safety of our Veterans, Houston VA has restricted most visitors from entering our main hospital at this time. No visitors will be allowed in any inpatient units.

Veterans call before visiting.
All Veterans should call your VA if you have symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath before going to any of our VA facilities. Calling first helps us protect you, medical staff, and other patients. Ask your VA health care team about the option of care by phone or video instead of an in-person visit.

If you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, call us at 713-794-8985, before you visit your Houston VA or CBOC. Clinical staff are available to provide 24/7 virtual care and support, including nurse advice and triage.

Veterans with appointments:

  • Outpatient visitors, including for appointments, are limited to ONLY those who are helping a Veteran that requires physical assistance.
  • All visitors, including children and adolescents under the age of 16, are restricted from visiting the facility. This includes appointments.
  • Arrive early for your appointment.
  • Ask for a mask upon entering the facility, if you are sick.
  • Wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after your appointment.

Be prepared to be screened when entering the facility.
We have staff at our entrances screening ALL Veterans, limited visitors, and employees who enter our main medical center and CBOCs. We are taking temperatures of all who enter our facility. Visitation is restricted at our VA at this time.

All who enter our main medical center and CBOCs will be asked the following three questions.

  • Do you have a fever or worsening cough or shortness of breath or flu-like symptoms?
  • Have you or a close contact traveled to an area with widespread or sustained community transmission of COVID-19 within 14 days of symptom onset?
  • Have you been in close contact with someone, including health care workers, confirmed to have COVID-19?

We have temporary new hours for building entrances:
   Main Entrance: Patients Only
       Monday through Friday: 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
       Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

   SCI Entrance: Employees Only                                    

   Metro/CLC Entrance: Patients Only
       Monday through Friday: 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
       Saturday and Sunday: Closed 

Valet Parking
We have suspended valet services.

What can you do to help during this situation?
For the latest VA updates on coronavirus and common-sense tips on preventing the spread of disease, visit https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/.

For more information about coronavirus, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

For Coronavirus FAQs: What Veterans need to know, visit https://www.va.gov/coronavirus-veteran-frequently-asked-questions/.

Whole Health Resources

During this time, we are utilizing online and virtual Whole Health services. You may use these web-based and mobile tools to support your whole health. These resources were developed within the VA as well as publicly available resources.

In addition, the National Center for PTSD has developed several resources for managing stress and anxiety associated with the COVID-19 virus outbreak.  The Circle of Health includes a number of resources that can be used by Veterans, caregivers, employees, or anyone! 


TEMPORARY VISITATION POLICY CHANGES

VA is asking patients, staff, and visitors to help slow the spread of infection. Visitations to the Houston VA are now restricted. Our volunteer program is temporarily suspended.

All visitors are restricted from entering the facility. Outpatients visitors are limited to ONLY those who are helping a Veteran that requires physical assistance.

Guidance about students:
As of March 13, 2020, in view of the current situation with COVID 19, the MEDVAMC leadership has decided to limit all rotating students from the main facility and our CBOCs. This rule applies to all disciplines of students (non-paid) from any affiliated school.  If an employee here is also a student, they will remain in employee status but not in any student role.  Since the situation is so fluid with day to day changes, there is no firm end date on this decision, and it is for the foreseeable future.  We will be in contact with the schools as things evolve about any decision to revert this policy.

Thank you for helping us protect the health and safety of all who enter your Houston VA!

 

During a VA-declared emergency:

VA Employees should return to this page for updates. For more information about this emergency, go to our main Emergency Information page.

Employee Helpline: 1-866-233-0152