Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
***Update*** April 30, 2020
First, as medical center director, I want to thank each of you for your patience and support. As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Truman VA has made several changes to how we provide your care. Please know that each decision was made with one goal in mind: To keep you, your families and our staff safe. Based on our current results, we have done just that. However, without your understanding and compliance, we feel the outcome would have been much different. Therefore, once again through your service, you made the difference.
As you know, one of our more recent changes to preventing the spread of COVID-19 is universal masking. By this, we mean that everyone who enters one of our facilities is required to wear a face mask of some kind. Universal masking keeps us all much safer, which is why this practice currently is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Therefore, if you require a face-to-face appointment at one of our facilities, we ask that you bring your own personal mask to wear while you are here. However, we can provide a mask to those Veterans who do not have the resources to acquire a mask on their own.
A common saying these days is, “we’re all in this together.” It’s common because it’s true. And no one knows this better than a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces. I know that I can count on all of you to help us in this battle to keep everyone safe by bringing your own mask for VA appointments. Remember, my mask protects you and your mask protects me. Let’s work together ― not only for each other, but also for our community.
Thank you very much.
PATRICIA L. HALL, PhD, FACHE
Our Veterans, visitors and staff are our No. 1 priority. Currently, the best way to protect everyone from circulating viral infections is to practice social distancing. Therefore, we temporarily will restrict entry access to Truman VA to only the Patient Education Center hallway doors. Everyone who enters Truman VA will receive a health screen before admittance. Please note that the ER and the main door entrances will not be accessible during this time.
As medical center director of Truman VA, I want to assure you that our No. 1 priority is you, your loved ones and those who provide your care ― our staff. Therefore, we continue to evaluate our response to COVID-19 based on the most current information available. As you no doubt are aware, over the weekend our state experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases. These developments require that we increase protective measures within our facilities.
It is important to remember that our plans concerning COVID-19 are based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The practice of social distancing provides us with the best opportunity to reduce or eliminate the potential spread of infectious diseases. Many of our Veterans have chronic conditions and suppressed immune systems. Exposure to this new strain of coronavirus could be devastating to them. Therefore, we will begin implementing the following restrictions over the next few days. We will continue to communicate with you as we learn more and feel that we can ease these protective steps.
- Starting March 16, Truman VA will screen all Veterans, visitors and staff each time they enter one of our facilities. Screenings will include questions about the person’s current health status and verification that no illness with fever is present. If a person is ill with fever, they will be required to wear a mask before entry to a facility is allowed.
- Truman VA will remain open for inpatient care, emergencies and urgent health issues. However, we are in the process of suspending elective procedures such as colonoscopies, endoscopies, bronchoscopies, and sleep studies until further notice. Suspension of elective procedures will reduce possible exposure to infectious diseases and help us preserve necessary resources for possible COVID-19 care. If you have questions about an upcoming appointment, contact your provider.
- Veterans with respiratory illness and fever that do not require inpatient care should recover at home. If you develop respiratory illness with fever and would like to discuss your condition with your provider, please call by telephone before physically going to your clinic or the hospital.
- Visiting hours will be amended to help protect our most vulnerable Veterans. Effective today, March 17, Truman VA visiting hours will be limited to noon to 6 p.m. each day.
- Any visitor who has a fever (100.4F), cough or shortness of breath will not be allowed to visit their loved ones. No visitors under the age of 18 are permitted, including infants.
- Only one visitor per Veteran is allowed. Only one visitor per Veteran is allowed for Veterans who require assistance to get to and from an appointment, providing support to in-patient Veterans in palliative or hospice care, and Veterans who are having major procedures.
- Overnight visitations temporarily will be suspended until further notice.
- No visitors are currently allowed on the CLC, ICU and our 4th floor step-down units.
- External access to the main medical center will be restricted to the two Patient Education hallway doors located on the north side of the hospital near the visitor garage. The rear Emergency Department entrance, main circle drive and lower level doors will be closed to restrict access. Appropriate signage is being developed and should be in place by the end of today.
- Group meetings or events within the hospital, such as Patient Education Center classes and awareness or celebratory gatherings, will be suspended or offered virtually until further notice.
- The Voluntary Service Program at Truman VA has been temporarily suspended.
- Chaplain services on Saturdays and Sundays have been temporarily suspended.
I truly hope that you understand our reasoning behind these temporary changes. We want to lift these restrictions as soon as possible. Thank you for your support and cooperation, and for helping us protect those who need us most.
PATRICIA L. HALL, PhD, FACHE