What is VA doing?
VA has implemented an aggressive public health response to protect and care for Veterans, their families, health care providers, and staff in the face of this emerging health risk. We are working directly with the CDC and other federal partners to monitor the outbreak of the virus.
On March 27, VA shared its COVID-19 response plan. This best-practice guide is a valuable tool, which may be useful nationwide for the medical community.
- Read the Response plan here: https://www.va.gov/opa/docs/VHA_COVID_19_03232020_vF_1.pdf
- Read the response plan press release here & access to a live chat with the Veterans Crisis Line here: https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5405
Local Veterans Resources:
Veterans Crisis Line: For Veterans, National Guard & Reserve, Family and Friends Phone: 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
Support for Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889
Veterans Call Center: 1-877-927-8387
Counseling Services related to COVID-19
Henderson Vet Center
400 North Stephanie Suite 180 Henderson, NV 89014
Las Vegas Vet Center
7455 West Washington Avenue, Suite 240 Las Vegas, NV 89128
- Elizabeth Dole Foundation Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community
- Military & Veteran Caregiver Experience Map
- VA Caregiver Support Line 1-855-260-3274
- VA Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Caregivers
Nevada Department of Veteran Services (NDVS)
Offices are closed. If you need assistance from a NDVS Veteran Service Officer (VSO) for filing a VA disability claim, please reach out to (702) 830-2000.
Nevada State Veterans Home
Visitors are not allowed at the veterans homes due to COVID-19. However, Virtual Visits for your loved ones are an option. Please call the respective Nevada state veterans home for further information:
Southern Nevada State Veterans Home (775) 827-2955
Veteran Cemeteries are closed at this time. Please call the respective cemeteries for more information.
Southern Nevada State Veterans Memorial Cemetery (775) 575-4441 Ext. 25
What should Veterans do?
Veterans with symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath should immediately contact their local VA facility. VA urges Veterans to contact VA before visiting – you can find contact information for:
Your closest VA facility: https://www.va.gov/find-locations/?utm_source=VA%20Alert&utm_medium=Banner&utm_campaign=Coronavirus&utm_content=link%20to%20locator.
Veterans can sign into My HealtheVet to send secure messages to their VA providers: https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/web/myhealthevet/secure-messaging-spotlight
Access telehealth where you can explain the condition and receive a prompt diagnosis
Upon arriving at VA, all patients will be screened for flu-like symptoms before they enter in order to protect other patients and staff. A VA health care professional will assist you with next steps once this screening process is complete.
The VA is urging all visitors who do not feel well to please postpone their visits to VA facilities.
How to protect yourself
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent the COVID-19 infection and no medication to treat it. CDC believes symptoms appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. Avoid exposure and avoid exposing others to an infection with these simple steps.
- Learn to use VA Video Connect through the VA mobile app store: https://www.mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect or by contacting your VA care team, before any urgent problems arise.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An easy way to mark the time is to hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice while scrubbing.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick or becoming sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (not your hands) and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Getting a flu shot is recommended.
- Additional outreach to Veterans and staff:
- Watch Dr. Stone’s Message for Veterans during COVID-19 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TKRU0nm8qo&feature=youtu.be
How do I reschedule or cancel my upcoming VA appointment?
Sign in to your VA.gov account to reschedule or cancel your appointments online.
Note: Some clinics are advising patients to not reschedule or schedule new appointments for some types of routine care, as they develop more guidance on safely providing care to protect patients and staff. Because this is a rapidly changing situation, the best way to get the most up-to-date facility information is to check your local VA health facility’s website
Can I use emergency care?
If you’re experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest ER.
If you have an urgent care need, we ask that you contact us first. You can use secure messaging or call your facility’s advice nurse before going to a clinic or walk-in urgent care facility. By not using the ER for nonmedical emergencies, you can help us protect you, medical staff, and other patients, as well as help us address critical medical needs first during this period of COVID-19 outbreak.
Symptoms that may need emergency medical (immediate) attention include:
- Chest pain
- Numbness or tingling in your arms or on one side of your body
- Severe fever or violent vomiting
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop
Symptoms that may need urgent care attention (within 24 to 48 hours) include:
- Sore throat, earache
- Sprains or strained muscles from sports or exercise
- Minor cuts and injuries
I don’t have symptoms, but I feel anxious and overwhelmed. What can I do?
First, it’s important to know you’re not alone, and we’re here for you. Concerns about COVID-19 can be stressful for many people. You can take steps to manage stress and get support.
- Stay connected and healthy. Stay in touch with friends and family by phone and social media. Follow your normal routine as much as possible, and get enough sleep and exercise.
- Keep your existing mental health appointments. If you currently have regular sessions, you can change them to telehealth (phone or video) appointments by sending your provider a secure message through My HealtheVet .
- Ask for a new mental health appointment. If you need same-day mental health care—or want to request a new appointment—call your local VA health facility
- Can I visit a patient at a VA facility?
- At this time, we recommend that you postpone your visit to help stop community spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. Postponing your visit helps us protect older Veterans and those who already have health issues.
- Note: In order to protect the most vulnerable patients against community spread, we’re currently not permitting outside visitors to see residents in nursing homes, and spinal cord injury and disorder centers, except for compassionate cases. “Compassionate case” means that the Veteran is in their last stage of life in a hospice unit. In compassionate cases, visitors will be limited to a specific Veteran’s room only.
MENTAL HEALTH for Veterans:
Taking care of your well-being, including your mental health, is essential during this time. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Many people may experience stress, fear, anxiety, or feelings of depression. This is normal. There are things that you can do to manage your stress and anxiety:
- Exercise regularly, try to eat well-balanced meals, and get plenty of sleep.: https://www.veterantraining.va.gov/insomnia/index.asp
- Limit alcohol.
- Practice breathing exercises and/or meditation. VA has many free mental health apps for Veterans. https://www.mobile.va.gov/appstore/mental-health
- Take breaks from the news (see below for tips).
- Stay connected with others while practicing social distancing (see below for tips).
- Participate in activities or hobbies that you enjoy, or learn a new one.
- Keep your current mental health appointments. VA offers both video and phone telemental health options that do not require you to go to your closest facility in-person should you have a medical concern or need to follow specific social distancing guidelines in your community.
- Learn ways to connect with VA providers using telehealth options and schedule or reschedule your appointment online: https://www.va.gov/health-care/schedule-view-va-appointments/
- If you are requesting a new mental health appointment, please call your local VA and they will work to arrange an appointment for you. If you need same day access for mental health services, call your local VA to request this and you will be connected to care. https://www.va.gov/find-locations
Also, see these great resources on managing stress and anxiety related to COVID-19:
- Moving Forward https://www.veterantraining.va.gov/movingforward/index.asp
- National Center for PTSD Guidance on Managing Stress: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/covid/COVID_managing_stress.asp
Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. If you feel anxious or stressed from the information, struggle to turn off the TV or log off of social media, or have trouble sleeping, you might want to limit the amount and type of news you are viewing. Try to do enjoyable activities, return to normal life as much as possible, and check for updates between breaks.
During times of social distancing, it is normal to have increased feelings of loneliness, sadness, fear, or anxiety.
It is important for everyone to stay connected. Here are some ways to feel more connected:
- Seek support from family, friends, mentors, clergy, and those who are in similar circumstances. While face-to-face communication may be difficult, be flexible and creative using phone, email, text messaging, and video calls. Sign up or join a virtual social network that includes service members and Veterans.
- Keep in touch with fellow Veterans and assist them in navigating this new environment if they are having a hard time. Teach them how to use VA Video Connect through the VA mobile app store as VA increases virtual health and mental health appointment availability.
- As a Veteran, you have been uniquely trained in emergency response situations. Your resilience and strength can assist others during these times. Connection can also happen when you give back to your community by sharing your expertise and support with family, friends, and neighbors through acts of kindness and volunteer opportunities which will arise.
DO YOU USE A MILITARY PHARMACY?
If there is a decrease in service or closure at your military pharmacy due to COVID-19, you may be temporarily required to switch your prescription to home delivery or retail.
YOUR PHARMACY OPTIONS
The best option during this time is to switch your prescriptions to home delivery.
You can get up to a 90-day supply of most medications. Copayments apply.
If you have a medication supply of 14 days or less, you may want to switch to a retail network pharmacy.
You can get up to a 90-day supply of most medications. Copayments apply. Please check with your network pharmacy provider about medication availability and copayments.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Call your MTF pharmacy refill line to check for changes to service offerings, closures, and resumption of services: www.tricare.mil/mtf
- Call ExpressScripts at 877-363-1303 or visit www.militaryrx.express-scripts.com/home-delivery to switch your prescription to Home Delivery
- Call your retail network pharmacy and ask them to call your MTF to transfer your medication or your provider for a new prescription
- Find a retail network pharmacy: www.militaryrx.express-scripts.com/find-pharmacy
- If you don’t have any refills remaining, call your provider to send a new prescription to either the ExpressScripts TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or your network pharmacy
Determine your medication coverage and copayments here: www.express-scripts.com/tform