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VA hospital begins re-opening to in-person appointments, elective procedures

VA hospital begins re-opening to in-person appointments, elective procedures

From the May's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: Cases rise, judge rules that state can keep nursing home data from public series
Southern Arizona VA Health Care System

The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System has rapidly expanded its telehealth services for veterans during the pandemic.

The VA hospital in Tucson is gradually reopening its campus for nonurgent, in-person appointments and elective procedures since the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Tuesday.

In order to protect patients and staff, the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System will limit initial scheduling and selected procedures, according to a news release.

The following safety measures will continue to be implemented:

  • Patients arriving will be asked screening questions and have their temperatures taken at the facility’s entrance.
  • Anyone entering a VA facility must wear a face covering or mask. Masks will be provided for those who need one.
  • Visitors are not allowed in the facility. A caregiver over the age of 18 can accompany and assist a veteran who needs physical help.
  • Minimal seating will be available and patients will be directed quickly to examination areas. Strict social distancing is practiced inside the buildings.
  • To minimize the risk of exposure to illness, patients are asked to arrive no sooner than 15 minutes before their appointments.

During the reopening of its facilities, officials said virtual care will continue to be offered. Virtual care options include:

  • Telephone or video appointments. To learn more about VA video connect, go to mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect, which can be used on computers, smartphones or tablets.
  • Prescription orders or refills can be mailed to a patient’s home by using My HealtheVet or the RX Refill mobile app. Download the app at mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill or call 1-800-470-8262 and press 1.
  • Secure messaging can be obtained with My HealtheVet, the VA’s online patient portal. A patient may send online secure messages to their health-care team to ask non-urgent health questions. Register at www.myhealth.va.gov

Anyone with questions about virtual services, call 792-1450 and ask for your primary care doctor.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at cduarte@tucson.com or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar

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