Coronavirus precautions at Fargo VA - Fargo VA Health Care System
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Fargo VA Health Care System

 

Coronavirus precautions at Fargo VA

Coronavirus Precautions Fargo VA

NOTE: This page is updated regularly with new COVID-19 information and guidance for the Fargo VA Health Care System's medical center and community based outpatient clinics across North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Last updated July 30, 2020 – NOTE: This page is updated regularly with new COVID-19 information and guidance for the Fargo VA Health Care System's medical center and community based outpatient clinics.

The Fargo VA HCS continues to expand services beyond urgent, emergent, and telemedicine as the local region reopens after COVID-19 shutdowns.

The Fargo VA HCS was chosen as a VA lead site to reintroduce routine in-person services to Veterans. As a lead site, we're among the first VAs in the nation to implement a phased approach to reintroducing routine health care services while ensuring a safe environment. The lessons learned from lead sites help other facilities across the country plan and reintroduce routine services. As a lead site, ensuring safety of the environment and clinical care is our number one priority. Decisions to reduce or reintroduce services are continuously reassessed based on local circumstances.

We are expanding operations in an environment that is safe for our Veterans and staff. We will continue to screen everyone entering our facilities for coronavirus to ensure minimum exposure to you, your caregivers, and our staff. Please feel free to talk to our staff about our facility screening process and the precautions we're taking to ensure your safety.

If you’re a Veteran seeking medical care, call before visiting (701-239-3700). You can also sign in to My HealtheVet (www.myhealth.va.gov) and send a secure message to your Primary Care Team. You may be able to get diagnosed and receive care through VA telehealth without having to come in at all. Appointments currently scheduled as some type of telehealth will remain this way unless you instruct us otherwise.

We continue to ask that you not bring any additional people to your outpatient medical appointments unless they're required to assist with your transportation or medical care.

We are allowing walk-ins only for the designated walk-in clinic and for urgent and emergent issues. Individual departments and clinics in primary care and specialty medicine are not taking walk-ins. No matter the scenario, again, Veterans who are seeking medical care are highly encouraged to call before visiting (701-239-3700).

As mentioned, we continue to screen everyone who enters the Fargo VA Medical Center or a VA outpatient clinic.

All patients and visitors are highly encouraged to use VA’s new COVID-19 Screening Tool when entering our medical center or community based outpatient clinics.

  1. Simply text the word ‘screen’ to 53079.
  2. You will then receive a follow-up text with a link to the screening questions.
  3. Complete the screening questions – show your phone to the screener at the entrance.

If you don’t have a phone or the ability to use this tool, you will be screened by a staff member at the entrance. We encourage you to adopt this tool to help make our screening process more efficient.

The first thing you will notice upon entering the Medical Center in Fargo is our centralized check-in. Our centralized check-in is located inside the main entrance on the north side of the Medical Center, so you should ensure you park in the north parking lot. If you park in the south parking lot, you will not be able to enter the Medical Center through the south entrance – you will be guided to the north entrance. Please arrive no earlier than 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. You may be asked to wait in our front lobby, rather than in the clinic area, to enhance our ability to social distance.

All staff, patients, visitors, and anyone else entering Fargo VA Health Care System facilities – to include our community based outpatient clinics – is required to wear a face covering, mask, or face shield. Everyone who enters a Fargo VA Health Care System facility will be provided a mask or face shield, if they do not already have one, at the entrances when they are screened. If you're unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, you will be provided a face shield. If you currently have your own face covering, we encourage you to wear it when entering our facilities.

You may be tested for COVID-19 within VA and we may ask you to distance yourself from others while waiting for your results. Please be sure to inform your VA provider if you receive a COVID-19 diagnostic test outside of VA. You and your provider will discuss your treatment options and overall health status while COVID-19 safety restrictions still exist. You will discuss the risks of certain treatments or procedures, taking into account your overall health status, risk for complications, and urgency of the considered treatment. Your VA provider may recommend that you continue to postpone routine but highest risk procedures, including dental and eye examinations.

Our Eye Clinic will remain closed to unscheduled walk-in services - optical services are currently provided by scheduled appointment only. Please call the Eye Clinic at (701) 239-3700 extension 3748 to schedule an appointment for any eyeglass fittings, adjustments, or repairs.

Only one visitor/companion per Veteran is allowed in our facilities for Veterans who require assistance for outpatient visits. We’re allowing only one visitor at a time per inpatient, except for COVID-19 positive inpatients and Veterans residing in the Community Living Center. No visitors are allowed in the Community Living Center. Exceptions may be made for visiting inpatients in compassionate cases when Veterans are in their last stages of life on hospice units. In all cases, visitors will be limited to a specific Veteran’s room only. We’re very sensitive to the separation visitation restrictions cause our patients and their loved ones, but this measure of protection is essential at this time to keep people safe. In the cases where visitors are allowed, only visitors without COVID-19 symptoms will be permitted to enter our facilities. Thank all of our visitors and Veterans for helping us protect the safety of everyone within our facilities. It's important to keep in mind that while there are currently several visitor restrictions, access will be determined on a case-by-case basis where the visitor is critical to the care of the Veteran.

The Fargo VA is also asking everyone who sews to make and donate face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19. Donations can be sent to the Fargo VA (2101 Elm St. N, Fargo, ND 58102) attn. Voluntary Service. If you have any questions about face coverings, call the Fargo VA Voluntary Service Department at 701-239-3700 extension 3395.

To keep yourself up-to-date on current COVID-19 information in the Fargo VA Health Care System, visit our website at www.fargo.va.gov or follow us on Facebook and Instagram. For more information about COVID-19, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

More information about online tools for Veterans:

Through VA’s virtual care tools, we’re able to leverage available technology to make sure our patients and staff are as safe as possible during this time. To help us address our Veterans’ most-urgent needs first, we ask that Veterans use our online tools for routine or non-urgent questions. Here are some examples:

Telephone or Video Appointments – Veterans can receive care at home – either over the phone or via video using VA Video Connect on their computers, smartphones, or tablets. To set up telephone or video appointments, Veterans can send their provider a secure message on My HealtheVet by visiting myhealth.va.gov. To learn more about VA Video Connect, visit mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect.

Prescription Refills – Veterans can request prescription refills and order and ship medications to their homes using My HealtheVet or the Rx Refill mobile app. Download the app at mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill.

Text Message Reminders – Veterans can use Annie’s Coronavirus Precautions protocol to send automated text messages with information about COVID-19. This application helps Veterans monitor for symptoms and can assist if they need to contact their VA facility for care. Enroll at mobile.va.gov/annie.

Secure Messaging – With My HealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal, Veterans can send online secure messages to your VA health care team to ask them nonurgent health questions. Register at www.myhealth.va.gov.

For more information about VA’s Connected Care technologies, visit connectedcare.va.gov.

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