After Irma, VA is open for business as usual

gettyimages 846063776 After Irma, VA is open for business as usual

FORT MYERS, FL – SEPTEMBER 12: A submerged mobile home community stands in Fort Myers two days after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 12, 2017 in Fort Myers Florida. Hurricane Irma made another landfall near Naples yesterday after inundating the Florida Keys. Electricity was out in much of the region with extensive flooding. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

by Jonathan Kaupanger

The massive Hurricane Irma – 650 miles wide from east to west – inflicted damage on at least nine states and most of the Caribbean islands. For the Department of Veterans Affairs, that represents almost six million veterans who still need medical care, benefits and services.

The Pharmacy Disaster Relief Plan is in effect for veterans who need an emergency supply of medications. This is in effect for all Hurricane Harvey and Irma areas.  Eligible vets with a VA ID card can receive an emergency supply of medication at any retail pharmacy open to the public.  Just bring a written prescription or an empty VA prescription bottle and get a 10-day supply, with the exception of controlled substances. For veterans who are displaced, lost their medication or no longer have the written prescription or bottle, they can contact the Heritage Health Customer Care line at (866) 265-0124 and pick option 1.

Here’s the latest list of what the VA has open and where you can get help if you are a veteran in the storm damaged areas.

Caribbean

With the exception of St. Thomas, the San Juan VA Medical Center and all community clinics in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands now have normal operating hours (8a – 8p).

The St. Thomas Community Based Outpatient Clinic is closed and it’s unknown when it will reopen.

Veterans are also being encouraged to use the MyHealtheVet online portal to communicate with their assigned healthcare team.

The San Juan Regional Benefit Office and the Puerto Rico National Cemetery are now open.

Florida

At the Miami VA Healthcare System, damage assessments are underway at all satellite clinics and they will be opened when deemed safe.   Also, all scheduled appointments, surgeries and outpatient procedures are canceled through at least today.

The Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center is now open for walk in patients who are looking for emergency, primary care pharmacy and mental health services, as are the William “Bill” Kling  and Hollywood Clinics.

The Key West Outpatient Clinic and the Key Largo Clinic will remain closed until the Monroe County evacuation order is lifted and facility assessments can be completed.

VA facilities in Deerfield Beach, Pembroke Pines, Flagler St. and Homestead are closed due to a power outage.  Vet Centers in Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach and Miami are closed as well.

West Palm Beach Medical Center opened today and is under normal operations.  Patients with appointments originally scheduled for Sept. 8 – 11 will all be rescheduled.  The same goes for any elective surgical and outpatient procedures that were missed.

The Vet Center in Palm Beach is open from 7:30a – 5p.  The Jupiter Vet Center is open, but has limited services – please call (561) 422-1220 for more up to date information.

The areas Community Based Outpatient Clinics are closed in Boca Raton, Delray, Fort Pierce, Okeechobee, Stuart and Vero Beach.

gettyimages 845803374 After Irma, VA is open for business as usual

JACKSONVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 11: The St. Johns River rises from storm surge flood waters from Hurricane Irma on Sept. 11, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. Flooding in downtown Jacksonville along the river topped a record set during Hurricane Dora in 1965. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

At the North Florida/South Georgia VA Health System, VA staff is working to reschedule missed appointments as soon as possible.  The Malcom Randall VAMC in Gainesville is open and patients will be contacted to either cancel or reschedule any appointments.  The same goes for the Lake City VA Medical Center.

Right now, outpatient clinics at The Villages and Tallahassee are open, as are Lecanto and Marianna CBOCs.  The Ocala West Clinic is also open.

All Jacksonville clinic locations, including Jefferson, Southpoint and University are closed.  Opening dates will be decided once assessments are completed.

The Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Waycross and St. Mary’s are also undergoing assessments and will reopen as soon as possible. The CBOCs in Palatka, St. Augustine and Valdosta and the Ocala Cascades clinic and Perry Rural Outreach clinic are planning to open Sept. 13.

The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System is operating with limited services.  All outpatient services, elective procedures and surgeries have been suspended at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center – including the Emergency Department.  Services will resume as soon as possible.  Patients transferred out of the medical center to other VA facilities will be moved back as soon as possible.  Family members will be contacted by VA staff as patient movement occurs.

The Lee County Healthcare Center and CBOCs in Bradenton, Naples, Palm Harbor, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, Sebring and St. Petersburg are closed and will resume operations as soon as possible.  Veterans impacted by closures will be contacted by VA staff to reschedule as soon as possible.

In Tampa, at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, all procedures, operations, labs and radiology services are still scheduled.  Additionally you may be contacted by you individual clinic with additional instructions. Patients will be contact by VA staff to reschedule all missed appointments.

The following Tampa-area clinics are open and available for walk-in patients: Primary Care Annex, the CBOCs in Zephyrhills, Lakeland and Brooksville are offering primary and mental health care.  The Tampa Outpatient Pharmacy, Tampa Eye Clinic (46th Street), Tampa Mental Health Clinic (46th Street) and Tampa Dermatology Clinic.  The New Port Richey OPC is closed.

For Orlando, the Medical Center is canceling scheduled appointments, and will be open for walk-in care only.   Veterans needing emergency medical services can visit the VA’s Urgent Care facility at 13800 Veterans Way in Lake Nona.  Outpatient clinics in Lake Baldwin, Daytona Beach and Viera are open for walk-in treatment only.

CBOCs in Clermont, Kissimmee, Tavares, Orange City and the Crossroads Annex are taking walk-in appointments.  Vet Centers at Clermont, Daytona Beach, Melbourne and Orlando are closed at this time.

The Panama City CBOC is open under normal hours.

gettyimages 845721518 After Irma, VA is open for business as usual

A boat sits onshore in a park after being beached by storm surge from Hurricane Irma in Coconut Grove, Florida, September 11, 2017.  ( SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Georgia

A state of emergency has been issued for Georgia. The Atlanta VAMC inpatient operations are functioning, however all area CBOCs are closed.  Patient appointments have been canceled.  The ft. McPherson Domiciliary and Decatur Clinic is open and will not cancel appointments.

The Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, GA and the CBOC in Athens, GA are open and running under normal hours

In Dublin, GA, the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center is open and continues to house evacuees from Hurricane Irma.  Community Clinics in Albany, Macon, Perry and Tifton are back under normal operations.  Brunswick and Milledgeville remain closed at this time.

South Carolina

Roads around the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center are currently impassable with about 2 – 3 feet of water surrounding the hospital.  In addition, tornado and flash flood warnings have been issued for the area.  All outpatient clinics and non-essential services will remain closed.  All outpatient clinics and elective procedures have been canceled.

The Hinesville, Savanna, Myrtle Beach, Trident Annex and Beaufort CBOCs are scheduled to reopen Wednesday – depending on the weather.  Goose Creek, VA/DoD Optometry clinic and the C&P Clinic remain closed until further notice.

The Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Aiken, SC is open under normal hours.

Alabama

Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, including the West Campus in Montgomery and the East Campus in Tuskegee are open and fully operational. Outpatient clinics in Columbus, Dothan, Wiregrass and the Dothan Mental Health Outpatient Clinic are open also.

The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System is open for normal business.  The outpatient clinics in Mobile, and Eglin  are open under normal hours as is the Joint Ambulatory Care Center.

Connect: @JonathanVets1 | Jonathan@ConnectingVets.com

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