Prepare for Your Visit - Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas
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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Prepare for Your Visit

Prepare for a visit: Everyone entering our facilities is screened, and visitors are limited. Face coverings are mandatory. Please contact us first before going to any of our locations. For some needs, you may be able to get care at home by phone or video.

Do you want to be sure you get your concerns addressed during your appointment? Print this discussion card and note the concerns you have and give to your provider at the beginning of your appointment.

COVID-19 Updates: Your Safe Care is Our Mission

If you are experiencing a medical or psychiatric emergency, please call 9-1-1 or visit an emergency room closest to you.

All Veterans should call 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. 

Your Houston VA Medical Center and community based outpatient clinics are 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. There is currently plenty of Veteran parking close to the Medical Center. Please do not arrive more than 45 minutes before your appointment.

COVID-19 Testing for Veterans with Symptoms

Houston VA and our CBOCs continue to test symptomatic 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 and in the parking lots of our Beaumont, Conroe, Katy, Lake Jackson, Lufkin, Richmond, Texas City, and Tomball and 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 or at specific CBOCs.  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 mask (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.  

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