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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Hurricane Harvey Affected Veterans Needing Urgent Care

August 31, 2017

If you are a Hurricane Harvey affected Veteran and needing urgent care, go to your nearest provider and VA will take care of the bill – this is through Choice.

“I got a call on Monday stating there was a patient stranded in a place with no VA Facility nearby and needed assistance,” said Annapurni Teague, associate chief of staff for outpatient care, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center “I knew we had an extraordinary event on our hands and had to make a decision quickly and in the best interest of our patients.” I verbally approved for the patient to receive care and worked with Houston VA's Care in the Community team to get relevant information so they could formally authorize care and pay for the services.

Dr. Teague said if a Veteran affected by Hurricane Harvey displaced by his/her home presents with urgent care to a local provider, VA will pay for it under Choice under the Unusual and Excessive Burden category.  “If we receive word that there is a Veteran with this need, we put the wheels in motion immediately,” said Teague. 

She communicated this through email, text, and face to face communication to clinic leadership.  Hurricane Harvey affected patients can go anywhere if urgent, they just need to tell us which clinic they are going to and we will take care of the rest.

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center feels this is one step during the recovery effort that will provide Veterans with more options and access points for receiving care for a wide array of illnesses and injuries in a timely manner.

“We are thrilled to have this ability to provide care seamlessly and quickly for those patients that need urgent care during this time,” said Frank Vazquez, director, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.  “Increasing VA access and availability of care during this recovery time is crucial. We realize some of our Houston Veterans may be residing with friends, family, or shelters throughout the country and they need to know the VA continues to be their provider of care.”