By now, you’ve heard about the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, that’s causing illness around the world.

Fortunately, VA is ready. We have plans in place to protect everyone who gets care, visits or works at one of our facilities.

For Veterans, families and visitors, that means your VA visit will be different for a while.

Call before visiting

If you’re a Veteran seeking medical care, call your VA health facility if you have symptoms of the virus. Or sign in to My HealtheVet and send a secure message. You may be able to get diagnosed and receive care through VA telehealth without having to come in at all.

If you visit a VA health care facility, you will be asked screening questions

VA health care facilities are adding protocols to ensure the safety of its patients and visitors. If you visit a VA hospital, clinic, community living center or other health care facility, you’ll be met at the entrance by a staff member. They will greet you and ask screening questions. Depending on your answers, a VA health care professional will assist you on the next steps of your visit. Some facilities, especially community living centers, may have visitor restrictions in place. Call before visiting so you’re aware of changes.

Leave time for screening

If you’re a Veteran coming in for an appointment, plan to leave home earlier than usual to allow time for the screening.

We’re doing all we can to make sure everyone in every VA facility — patients, families, visitors, staff and anyone else — stays as safe as possible during this situation.

For the latest VA updates on coronavirus and common-sense tips on preventing the spread of disease, visit

For more information about coronavirus, please visit


Share this story

Published on Mar. 11, 2020

Estimated reading time is 1.6 min.

Views to date: 1,461


  1. Lester Jernstad April 9, 2020 at 1:38 am

    When one gets in bed with government, one must expect the diseases it spreads. — Ron Paul

  2. Marty M April 4, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    You need to set up an account with the VA at:

    You should be able to re-order your meds, etc. there. It’s very handy and easy to use. Good luck Randy

  3. Randy N. April 2, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    I have been trying to get in touch with the VA hospital in Durham, NC for a week now. I been on hold for 45 min to an hour waiting for someone to pick up the phone but no one picks up. I need my meds refilled but I cant get my doctor or the pharmacy. This is a joke. It was hard to get though to my clinic before but now it’s Impossible.

    • Eboni Sears April 5, 2020 at 3:36 am

      Very true. I’m sorry this is happening. As a patient myself I’m confused why Wal-Mart is still open to roam the facility but DRrs offices choose to close.

  4. Mike Jordan March 31, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    Please stop your complaining. if you don’t like the VA then find treatment else where. Because VA doesn’t do everything like you want you want to complain and moan about the treatment you give. You are just taking up a slot for a Veteran who wants care at VA. VA is not perfect but they are doing the best they can under these crazy conditions. How many Veterans are complaining when told to put mask on or stay home if you are sick.

    • Eboni Sears April 5, 2020 at 3:39 am

      No. That’s not the answer. His VA spot is his. He served so he should get treatment. The VA is no different than any other facility. Customer serviceand patient care should be #1 priorities. You don’t tell the patient not to complain. You tell the health system to stepup their game.

    • Cynthia Serrano April 5, 2020 at 11:47 am

      This guy is having a tough time during an already trying time. Leave him alone. Let him vent without your judgement

    • Craig Allan powell April 7, 2020 at 12:23 pm

      Be glad the VA isn’t sending you a hugh bill.

  5. Odell March 27, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    My Girlfriend went to VA (A Scheduled Appt.) and she advised them that she had a fever several times and requested a C-19 test due to the fact of sore throat, temp and was exposed at work by 2 team members that was sent home cause of exposure to someone at Church that tested positive and they refused to give her one @ VA Clinic Somerset, Kentucky . They advised her to go to local clinic if her symptoms became worse. What is it a Government weed ? Why are they not testing? SMH Our Government is a shame, Veterans put their lives on the line and come home and treated like the Vietnam Veterans.

    • Lab Rat March 30, 2020 at 5:51 pm

      We don’t have enough testing kits right now to test everyone coming through the door. It’s up to the individual physician to decide whether or not the symptoms match with Covid-19, and likelihood of them being positive. Sore throat isn’t really a symptom of Covid-19, so maybe they thought it was strepthroat or drainage from allergies.

      As more testing kits become available more and more people can get tested. The companies that make testing supplies are just on backorder because everyone in the world (literally) needs them right now. Some labs are in such desperate need that they’re starting to mix their own media for collecting the specimens. But for example one of the companies being used for testing cant meet the demand for supplies, so they have said that they will only give 30 tests to each hospital per week. We test more than that in a day.

      Its a struggle for everybody right now. We are all trying to provide veterans with the best care.

  6. TammySmick March 27, 2020 at 4:33 am

    My husband got tested last Thursday for coronavirus at 6:00 a.m. at the VA in Durham. We were told we’d have results in 48 hours. Yet, it’s now going on 8 days and we’re still waiting. He has called them twice and they keep saying they don’t know why it’s taking this long . Has anyone else waited this long for COVID results?

    • Collin Trowel March 29, 2020 at 8:28 pm

      I have been waiting more than a week for my results as well. Im not sure what is going on with Va and testing….

    • Lab Rat March 30, 2020 at 6:00 pm

      There are only currently 7 VAs in the nation that have the machines required to do Covid-19 testing. We are trying to get results out to everyone as soon as possible, but alot of labs are getting backed up due to the volume of tests being sent to us. And the state departments across the nation who are running tests as well are having the same problem for people outside the VA.

      The people working in the labs are trying to learn all new procedures and get supplies and train people to do the testing. Its really a crazy time in healthcare.

      Sorry its taking so long to get your results back. Hope your husband is doing ok.

  7. Patrick Howard March 26, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    This is all sickening madness I don’t understand why the VA isn’t testing all Veterans. It should be the VA 1st priority.

    • Eboni Sears April 5, 2020 at 3:42 am

      They are not testing ALL vets because vets have never been their 1st priority, EVER. Can’t expect them to start caring now.

  8. Amanda Schwerin March 26, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    This is NOT true. They are not doing anything to ensure the safety of my husband and therefore our family. He is a partially disabled veteran and works at the North Texas VA in Dallas. He is not allowed to use annual leave, and he’s running out of sick leave. His job could easily be done remotely, but they are dragging their feet approving any of the MAS employees to telecommute. He works in a small room with about 15 other people with cubicles side by side the aisle between them is about 18 inches or less. He is NOT allowed to wear PPE according to Dr. Stone. This is what I was told when I called the Center for Excellence concerned about my husband working there given there have been Covid-19 positives there. I have an autoinflammatory illness and asthma, so getting this virus would be very bad for me, yet they continue to make him work in these unsafe conditions. At least they could be honest about their lack of concern for the well-being of veterans, employees, and their families.

  9. E7981 March 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Is it possible for Veterans to get MASKS at the VAMC?? If yes, let me know, you have my Secure email, email and phone number!!

  10. Pat jordan March 25, 2020 at 12:08 am

    We just received word that the Iowa City VA has an employee with confirmed COVID 19. So much for their promise to our VETS. We had multiple confirmed cases in Johnson County. Why was the staff not quarantined at home. Work and home. Nowhere else! This would have been an imposition on the employees and their families, but these are difficult times.
    This was NOT done, and now we will see how many VETS die because of VA management’s incompetence. I pray the number will be zero.

  11. Franklin Smith March 22, 2020 at 4:54 pm


    • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 to 30 seconds, always after coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have access to running water, use an alcohol-based hand cleanser that is at least 60% alcohol.
    • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
    • Stay away from people who are sick or have been in contact with someone who is sick.
    • Don’t share makeup, food, dishes or eating utensils.
    • Take your daily asthma medicines to keep your asthma under control.

  12. Jeffrey L. Frusha March 20, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    Audie L. Murphy VA hospital in San Antonio – Telecare requested that a veteran with exposure to CoVid-19 bring family to the facility for testing. Upon arrival, the family members were turned away and sent to University Healthcare the next block over. The veteran was ridiculed and NOT TESTED for as much as the flu, let alone CoVid-19. The disabled Veteran, using a cane, was led through the interior of Audie L. Murphy VA hospital, turned out near the Poly-Trauma entrance and forced to walk almost completely around the facility to reach the University Healthcare facility, even though he entered through the Ambulance bay, which is almost directly across the street from the Ambulance bay of University Healthcare System.

    Later that morning, upon opening of VA offices, the Veteran went to the Patients Advocates Office, was escorted to the Emergency Department and STILL NOT TESTED for CoVid-19, despite his and his family’s contact with the known case that elicited a Declaration of Emergency for Hays County, Texas.

    A Disabled Veteran, with physical disabilities and known exposure to a documented case of CoVid-19, using a cane was forced to walk almost a mile, half of which was through and around the Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital , because of this egregious behaviour, it is possible that patients, staff and passers-by have been exposed to CoVid-19.

    • Kimberly A. Spangrude March 24, 2020 at 7:32 pm

      My son, 38 and an Iraq War veteran, was also a patient at the Audie Murphy VAMC two nights before this person was. He was impressed with the care he received, and was told that he was tested for influenza A&B, RSV, and strep, all which were negative. We were finally told yesterday that he tested negative for Covid 19 but now he can’t get his results on paper, which he needs so he can go back to work. He is recovering at home from what was finally diagnosed as Human MetaPneuomovirus – a virus in the pneumoviridae family, and usually not life threatening. I hope that this is the truth, and not a lie fabricated by the powers that be in an attempt to make the numbers in Texas appear lower than the rest of the country.

  13. Abu Garcia March 19, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    The Cincinnati V.A. has put all the homeless veterans at the Ft.Thomas domiciliary out on the street with absolutely no notice to house coronavirus victims…is that a way to treat our veterans? They could have at least made arrangements to house them…or at a minimum given them more than a few hours notice

    • 1StCav March 22, 2020 at 11:39 pm

      Do disabled vets qualify for payments for corona virus payment what ever that may be?

      • Heather March 25, 2020 at 3:00 pm

        Disability is based on injuries or medical issues caused by military service. The rating can be increased if the issue gets worse in time. So I think you need to look into the misinformation you got. Getting coronavirus doesn’t qualify a veteran for an additional check.

      • Tim Keefe March 30, 2020 at 1:55 pm

        I’m assuming you’re talking about the one time stimulus payment they are currently passing? If you are a service connected disabled vet that doesn’t make enough to file a tax return the answer is YES. It is a payment of 1200 if you are single. I will try to attach a link below that better clarifies. Scroll down to the part addressing Veterans:⬇️

    • Lawrence Hubbard March 24, 2020 at 6:00 am

      Did the Cincinnati VA close the Ft Thomas hospital for the homeless Veterans? Seems to to be a knee jerk reaction from the VA the people who are at risk are thrown back on the streets. I do know that most of my Cincinnati VA appointments have been made into a telephone screening(?) due to my underlying conditions but which ones do you go to so you don’t loss your place in Bernini seen in the future?

  14. Mark Lux March 19, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    In any type of national emergency the most critical thing is transparency and truthfulness. At the top of this page it says that the VA is ready for Coronavirus. Today I received a call to confirm my appointment for my previously scheduled six month check. They wanted to switch to a telephone check instead of a personal visit to limit exposure. I’m good with that. I am not showing any symptoms of the virus and feel good. I did ask if they had the testing kits that the President PROMISED are available. Apparently they do not have the testing kits or if they do have them, are testing very selectively. We knew this virus was active back in January. Two months have gone by. The truth is that the VA is NOT READY for the Coronavirus. So why are they lying along with the President? Please stop being lap dogs, tell us the truth, and get the necessary testing kits, masks, ventilators and whatever else our fine Medical/Health care personnel need at the VA clinics. The VA Director should be demanding, yes, at the risk of his job if he has the guts, demanding that the President enforce the provisions of the Defense Production Act to get these items manufactured at a faster clip. Lives are at risk because of their inaction.

    I have always received excellent and timely treatment from the VA and really want to commend the amazing operation that the Columbus OH clinic has. Their personnel are caring and competent. There has always been very little wait time. But this coronavirus mess should never have been allowed to happen on the federal level! More importantly, action, not empty words for PR reasons, should now take place!

  15. Ced Mar March 19, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Best Healthcare Services Provider in USA.

  16. Samuel Genco March 19, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    You have no idea of how lucky you are to have the VA for your healthcare.
    Dedicated professionals that offer the BEST health care in America.
    Wake up and quit whining.
    If you don’t like the VA, go somewhere else so that other veterans and the health professionals don’t have to put up with you.

  17. Mason March 19, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    My brother just went to the VA yesterday, granted he’s only experiencing mild symptoms, but he doesn’t want to take any chances. He said that he waited around for a while and answered some questions, but eventually did not get tested. He’s monitoring at the moment and is thinking that if things get worse he’ll head over to an urgent care….not sure what to think about it as I haven’t had the need to go to the VA for a while.

    • Robert J Lester March 19, 2020 at 1:48 pm

      I’ve been in the VA system for over 40 years and I’m 20% disabled Vietnam vet. I’ve been treated at four different VA facilities. Nebraska, Oregon, Arizona and South Dakota. I have had nothing but great care by people who have treated me with a great deal of care and respect. I have paid nothing for these services, except some co-pay on medications. I have been treated for at least five different medical situations, the latest being cancer. They sent me out of the system for the cancer treatment because they felt I would get better treatment at a specialized treatment facility. I will pay nothing for this treatment as well.
      I do not how I would get better service then I have received of this time.

      • Tom Basham March 29, 2020 at 2:14 pm

        You served and you paid by your service. Thank you for serving.

    • Chill Draggon March 19, 2020 at 10:51 pm

      Vets of the BASE, the VA can’t just make supplies appear from out of nowhere. The “governnent” isn’t to blame. The majority of goverment workers are dedicated caring people.
      It’s the administration that’s to is the cause of this failure. It’s not about you and me, it’s the “stable genius’s” ratings and childish praise he insists on.
      You may dismiss the advice from scientist when the great prevaricator tells you it’s all a hoax and then it’s repeated to you by vice president Hannity (I know).
      Wait until Corona, the angel of death, visits your town or your home, will you blame the man who has turned the White House into the nation’s undertaker’s home.
      For him the Buck will stop with whomever he can blame. I wish I could have sympathy for his base, if you suffer, but, frankly, I’m just giving back some of the venom you’ve spit at us. May you reap a record crop of what you have sown.
      In the meantime enjoy your tax breaks, your lost farms, your 401k gains , (oops!). Of course you hate government, but your desperately calling for its help.
      If “he who should have been a doctor” STopped playing one on TV and listened to the real ones months ago, we wouldn’t have this disastrous crisis. we would have been prepared.
      And lets thank the grabber for holding up needed supplies for 5 weeks, so Jared Kushner could be set up to be awarded a lucrative contract.
      We I’ve run out of niceness for tonight.
      Sleep well.

  18. Daniel W March 19, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Dear veteran brothers and sisters, if you read some of the articles coming out recently about discussions to open the VA hospital system to civilians, take note that what they do not say in these articles is that many of us will be triaged out of ICU beds that otherwise would have been available. Those of us with service-connected disability have no other options but the VAH, as bad as it is, and if this comes to pass, we will have to compete with the rest of Americans who have far more options and better health care for the few beds the government allocated to us. You need to speak up now and create a lot of noise about the possibility of us having to compete with non-veterans for life-saving resources in our own hospitals.

  19. Lorrie Thomas March 18, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    I am writing on behalf of my 79-year-old father. Coast Guard 57 to 64. My father has been getting his healthcare from the VA as long as I can remember. In 2017 he had two heart attacks, emergency open heart surgery, and he started dialysis among other things. The VA Boston healthcare system has been nothing short of amazing for him. After the heart surgery, they built a ramp so he could come and live with me. When he was living with me, he had home-based primary care because it was difficult for him to get out as he is legally blind, hard of hearing, and in a wheelchair. They provided every service that I needed in my house so I could manage caring for my father. Unfortunately in 2018 he had part of his left leg amputated. Inn 2019, He had a catheter inserted in his chest to deal with excess fluid. Because of this, he became too medically complex for traditional long-term care. He wasn’t complicated enough for the next level so the government wouldn’t pay for that. The VA graciously lets my father live at the VA Brockton MA medical center in the community living Center. Here, my father receives some of the best treatment you have ever witnessed. The nurses are nothing short of angels and He received excellent care. They have activities and last year he went kayaking, sailing, fishing, and to so many socials I can’t even count. The VA Boston healthcare system has saved my father’s life so many times I can’t even count. They are absolutely top shelf. When we have to go outside of the VA healthcare system, we noticed a big drop in service. Thank God for the VA!

    • George A. Miller March 19, 2020 at 2:41 pm

      Correct the Department of VETERANS AFFAIRS has stricken down its policy of providing additional beds for civilians under Mission Four. You will not find that policy on the VS’s website.
      A lot of noise was made to have The Department of VETERANS AFFAIRS keep the bed they have available for VETERANS.

  20. Timothy H Pattinson March 18, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    I’ve been blessed with VA care for over 30 years. They have dealt with my cancer and over 10 major surgeries. I am so grateful for the care I have received. I see guys complaining and am amazed on how entitled they feel they are. To get respect you must show respect. Saying thank you Goes a long way concerning having people treat you well.

  21. Robert Chaisson March 18, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Why are people entering the VA hospitals temperatures taken. Isn’t failure to perform this putting veterans at greater risk. Additionally nurses from the dialysis unit are rotating members of the screening staff and are then assigned back to the dialysis unit. Veterans in dialysis have somewhat compromised immune systems and are more susceptible to covid 19. Nurses and aids from the dialysis unit should be exempt from entry screening duties as your putting veterans with renal failure at greater risk.

    • Robert Chaisson March 18, 2020 at 5:10 pm

      I meant why aren’t temperatures taken. Sorry, my bad.

  22. lebelly23 March 18, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    My husband does not have a spleen and is considered high risk. He just called the VA with minor fever, and slight shortness of breath, and they asked him screening questions like has he traveled, and after he said no, they basically said that basied on his answers he is not high risk, AND by the way, they don’t have the test. Hmmmmm. Great. They said to call the triage ER. We will see. My guess is they don’t have the test. Those questions about travel are irrelevant at this point. He works in the hotel industry in Los Angeles! The government is lying to us about the availability of these tests. They don’t have them on the scale needed if they can’t even test a person at high risk who is experiencing symptoms.

  23. Shelby Hall March 18, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    I think the VA at Clairmont Rd in Decatur Ga need to be more friendly and helpful to the Veterans that comes in. The Veterans goes there because they have done their jobs and Benefits and Claims are their entitlements.

    I have gone there many times, and the clerks and the staff sometimes just barely call the Veterans name and if they don’t answer right away, some of them are quick to go back to their area. A Vet could be in the restroom or visit another specialist. I seems them get them mixed up light that. I was just there the other day with my brother to get started on his benefits, and was usher in one room and before it was completed, usher to another.

    This past Monday was hard, because we are going through he Virus, but at least the help could be more friendly, like you really care about the Veterans.

    One thing they did not know, that I am his part time caretaker, taking care of his appointments and medicine on time.
    I am also a Veteran and I know now how they will treat me.

  24. Robert Hawes March 18, 2020 at 6:00 am

    I am in the Philippines. We have the only VA Outpatient Clinic outside of the US. It is well equipped and staff clinic. The target population is the remaining US Philippine Scouts and their dependents; followed by US Veterans with Service Connected problems. What can they do for US vets with the symptoms of the virus.

    • Jim zeller March 18, 2020 at 11:06 am

      I use the va clinic at the naval hospital in Beaufort sc. I. See dr elliot who I have been seeing for yes. He is good and caring and am very happy to be seeing him. Hooray. I also see dr shopkick, oncologist, at theater hospital in Charleston, sc. I cannot tell you how happy I am t be seeing her. She is great and even calls me at home when I contact her with a question. Hooray for the va.

  25. Amanda Pasciucco March 17, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    THIS IS NOT TRUE!!! The Connecticut VA and North Carolina VA is passing a FORCE on the East Coast. My Veterans with PTSD says they will lose coverage tomorrow. I called two weeks ago, and TriWest authorized a YES to continued services. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said NO yesterday, and they are going ahead with United Behavioral, who doesn’t pay LICENSED BEHAVIORAL HEALTH our wages AND only lets Veterans have 45 minute sessions max! PTSD Kills at least 22 Veterans a day. Make a #COVID19 exception and let TriWest Healthcare Alliance KEEP managing behavioral health for the next 6 months while we sort this mess.

  26. Joseph Henderson Ward March 17, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    I don’t have any complaints of my treatment from the VA. I use the Oklahoma City VA hospital and the North May clinic. My Drs. name is Dr. Leggjack and I have never had a more caring Dr. during my 82 years. This man cares about you and he spends a minimum of 30 minutes with you each time. I also have the best dental care at the Oklahoma Hospital.
    When I came down with Leukemia the Drs. at the Oklahoma Hospital put me in isolation and called all over the U.S. to find me a special keno called 2CDA. I have been in remission for over 15 years.
    They go over board treating my type 2 diabetes and furnish all my diabetes supplies.
    I can not thank the VA enough for the excellent health care they have provided me with.
    God Bless all the employees of the Oklahoma City Hospital and the North May Clinic. Thank you for you excellent care.
    Joseph H. Ward US Navy

  27. Steve Alle March 17, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    I was recently in close contact with a colleague who was healthy at the time, but is now symptomatic with fever, headache, shortness of breath, and sore throat. I’m feeling perfectly fine, and have a growing pile of tasks that need tending at work that I need to get finished soon. Given the current circumstances however, I’d like to avoid being negligibly complacent just as much as I’d rather not be a flailing alarmist–so I called the Orlando/Daytona VA nurse hotline.

    She plainly explained to be that, if I’m not symptomatic by now (four days in at this point), that there’s nothing to do except carry on as usual. I’m really not sure what to make of that, considering that currently most consensus (including from the CDC) seems to be that safety and precaution should come first. This seems especially reasonable, considering just how many cases of infection and spread are reportedly coming from infected (but asymptomatic) people.

    Is the VA nurse hotline still a reliable source for general medical guidance for coronavirus-related concerns, or is something wrong with this story?

    • James Shelton April 1, 2020 at 7:30 am


      The nurse wasn’t even following CDC guidelines. I live north of Seattle, and the recommendation is 14 days of self isolation/quarantine if you have or might have been exposed. That also means isolate from your family.

      I wonder about Florida after watching the Spring Break debacle. I hope Tallahassee is being more proactive.

      Here in Washington state, we are on stay home status. Only essential workers are allowed to work unless you can work from home. Schools are closed with course work done online. All bars, restaurants (take out and delivery are allowed), and nonessential businesses are closed. We can go to the grocery store, pharmacy, medical appointments or gasoline stations. We are not to gather in groups of more than ten people provided there is room for six feet of social distance. Having anyone other than residents or first responders in your home is a no-no. State and national parks, including beaches are closed, and fishing, crabbing, and gathering clams and all other shell fish are prohibited. The governor has asked LE to start with three levels of enforcement: 1st offense is a verbal warning. 2nd offense will be a ticket and fine, and the third offense will result in either civil or criminal charges.

      There is much more to this, but I thought I’d gloss over a few things we live with now.

      Oddly, the liquor stores and pot shops can still operate.

  28. Danette McKinney March 16, 2020 at 11:55 am

    I’m so grateful to have access to such excellent health care. For those who have nothing better to do than complain, seek your services outside the VA in the common community where everyone else has to receive their care, and you will probably have a swift change of heart. The waits for visits, exposure to others, and the expense for care is unbelievable. In my opinion, the current VA system has gone out of their way to provide the best possible care. And you cannot blame the VA if you have no common sense. Yes there will be wait times, yes you have to learn to navigate video connect to communicate with your providers, yes, you will have to personally limit your exposure to other people and to take care of your personal hygiene. And no individual gets everything they want when they want it. Whatever happened to patience, common courtesy, and gratitude for your benefits. Something to think about.

    • Jerome Voss March 17, 2020 at 12:22 pm

      Amen Brother! I live in a small rural community. Like everywhere else there is shortage of medical professionals. The services I receive from the VA is quicker and of higher quality than any services available from medical facilities outside the VA.

    • Gregory S. Tiffany March 17, 2020 at 11:09 pm

      I am a Veteran in North Central PA. I wish to relate my recent experience with the COVID-19 response. I received a call through a nurse at the local clinic, after persistent phone calls over the weekend. (My boss was concerned with my coughing, and shortness of breath he had observed last Friday, and forbid me to sign in upon reporting for work on Saturday.)
      Yesterday, on Monday, after working my way through the VA call screening (normal) checklist, she relayed my symptoms to my Primary Care (PC) doctor. The nurse was great, and the first one to take the time to understand that I clean sewers at a casino visited by people from many countries, including Europe and Asian, but did not meet the “face to face” threshold for testing. After long discussions while on hold, I was asked not to come into the clinic.
      After I was on hold, it was concluded that I did have ALL the signs and symptoms of a virus infection of some type, and they referred my case (advised me, authorized payment) to the local ER. I called the Sayre Guthrie ER to let them know I was coming in, told them I was referred by my PC, and even gave them my medical record number. I asked if they had reliable tests available, and what time to come in so they could test me outside wearing their PPE, so as to avoid interactions with others, in case I was negative, hoping I was.
      After being on hold several times, I was told I would have to come in, and wait to be seen by one of their doctors, (ER visit, cost unknown?), before determining if they would administer a test or not. I never got an answer to my two questions, again, trying to not spread, or squire, an infection.
      I am only writing about my this frustration because I share a house with my (frail) older sister, and was told to not return to work without test results. My co-workers are worried too.
      So now I have questions for the VA: Why is “Face-to-face” contact still a determining criteria in your screening protocols? Why is there no direct referral coordination between the local VA clinic, if they won’t (or can’t) test, and the only big hospital in town? Why are there no safe (in your car) protocols for screening, meaning, safe for hospital, or clinic, workers, as well as for the veterans?
      Note: I am rarely sick, like this, maybe only 6 days in the last 20 years. I am a farmer with great immune system, and chose not to risk sitting in an ER. You may publish this to help fix this frustrating situation.

      • lebelly23 March 18, 2020 at 5:07 pm

        We received same type of run around for my immunocompromised husband who also works in the hotel industry. Bottom line, despite what the government is telling people. The tests are NOT readily available.

  29. Steve March 15, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    I have been using the Augusta, Ga Va, for the last 16 years, and can say I could not be happier with the service and care we receive. They seem to go out of there way to please us veterans. I would much rather receive my care at the VA. Than to be sent out for treatment. The outside doctors do not understand the service connected issues of the veterans, and do not treat us the same. I I would just like to say thank you to all of our nurses and doctors, for all you do for us veterans.

    • Renee Coleman March 31, 2020 at 6:30 pm

      Hello Steve, I appreciate your positive comments about the Charlie Norwood VA in Augusta, GA. I am employed there and receive my medical care. I am a Veteran who is passionate about the interaction and service to all Veterans and Family Members. Thank you for your support of the VA and thank you for your Military Service.

  30. Sylvia Suvaco March 14, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Wow!!! I am disgusted by the horrendous comments. Please, if you are reasonably happy and have been served with reasonable care please write in and say so. It’s fine to write the Director or department heads if there is a genuine problem but to just spew meanness and discontent with the entire system is just wrong.
    Go to the VA or call and be friendly and polite and thankful. It will bring amazing responses for the people who work there. Begin with good manners and most of the time that is what you will receive in return. I thank all at the Dallas, Ft. Worth and Granbury facilities that take care of us. As things change daily and new directives are given I know you are doing all you can to care for the Vets.

  31. James D. Witt March 14, 2020 at 5:19 am

    Am Navy Disabled Veteran, with basic american sign language to use as often at my appointments
    in the Tampa V.A. Florida. My appointments with them, got better with V.A. staff taking time to
    make eye contact when I read their lips, watch their body and face movements to see if they
    V.A. Tampa and area O.P.C. are my only contact with other veterans, many whom
    have been most patient with my disabilities, in trying to communicate. Feel most blessed.

  32. Theodore L Pietz March 13, 2020 at 10:34 am

    The VA has been a Godsend in my life. I have no complaints in regards to my healthcare at all over the 20 years I’ve been enrolled.

    I’ve been sent into the private sector for specialty care by the VA and find it to be an entirely different atmosphere. In the private sector we are treated as though we are there for them but at the VA facilities veterans are treated like they are there for us. Big difference.

    I oppose privatization of the VA.

    • Scott Walters March 14, 2020 at 9:29 am

      Our vets are the most vulnerable population. The majority are over 65 and have been smoking for many years. This exact population had the highest rate of death in Wuhan from this novel coronavirus. I refuse to let any of my loved ones receive any sort of outpatient non-urgent care right now.

      No need for things like Cataract Surgery or dental cleanings right now. The waiting rooms are usually full and our vets wait for hours to be seen. That’s absolutely unnecessarily exposure. Is the VA truly cares about us, they’ll take extreme action to insure that every single hospital is deep cleaned and will have coronavirus tests available to all of us. Until then, I’m staying away for my father’s health.

  33. Anthony Cotroneo March 13, 2020 at 9:05 am

    The Northport VA on Long Island, New York is a great hospital. I went for my Dental Appt. And SW appointments and both departments were great. I have no complaints. Thank God for VA Social Workers they are wonderful.

  34. Steven Bookless March 13, 2020 at 12:18 am

    The VA has so inapt people it is dangerous and scary…..I do not trust my Primary Healthcare Provider!!!!!
    Dr. Heu at Fresno, CA Hospital….

  35. William Tyler March 12, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    I had an appointment yesterday at the VA clinic in North Bend Oregon. They called me the day before and screened me over the phone. They screened me again when I checked in at the desk. That’s good.
    They’re not perfect. They could have done more. It would be a simple thing to hand out a simple flyer with instructions on what we can do to prevent exposure, or what to do if we suspect we’re exposed.
    Is there a VA 800 number? Haven’t seen one.
    But everyone is scrambling. It’s obvious that there’s a leadership vacuum in Washington.
    I guess competence is important.

    • Samuel Genco March 19, 2020 at 3:40 pm

      Please go to someone you trust outside of the VA. One less ungrateful whining vet.
      Good luck

  36. Alan Weiner March 12, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    I shave been a regular patient for the past several years in numerous clinics. ie podiatry,dental , oppthamology,dermatology,otolaryngology. All at the Jamaica PLAIN Massachusetts hospital. I read about complaints from others and I can only relate having experienced none of them. I would commend each and every contact to have treated me with respect and has gone out of his or her way to make my visits with brief waiting, for medical attention. There is nothing I could suggest to improve the employee performance.

    Alan D Weiner

  37. Rick Niblick March 12, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    I’m a Vietnam Vet US Army 1970 —1974 I live in Bolivar Ohio I use the V.A. facility in New Philadelphia Ohio for most of my concerns occasionally they will refer me to the V. A. facility in Canton Ohio or even Clevland Ohio. I getting tired of listening to the bitching about the V. A. I have nothing but the utmost respect and appreciation for all the care givers at all V. A. facilities I’ve come in contact with over the past many years. Thanks to all the V.A. people.

  38. Charles Heckman March 12, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    I am in the top risk group for CORONAVIRUS because of my service-connected Diabetes Type 2 and service-connected high blood pressure. Now, the VA and Tri-West are making sure that I will have no doctor to see if I become infected. My choice doctor’s authorization expired last December, but the VA claims to have authorized another year in early January. It informed Tri-West, a private company that seems to be getting Federal money for duplicating VA work, that the authorization was approved in January.. Although I informed Tri-West and the VA that I would be in Germany visiting grandchildren until after February and that my cell phone does not work at my house, Tri-West phoned me many times and, guess what, nobody answered. They then returned my authorization to the VA so that my doctor could not give me an appointment after I returned on February 13. If I become infected with CORONAVIRUS, I can expect no medical treatment, and maybe Tri-West and the VA can get their wish and see me die, leaving some more money for their bunuses. Tri-West has been promising me on the phone and in person at American Lake VA facility to get me the authorization for more than 3 weeks now, but blames the VA for not promptly reissuing the authorization. It says that it cannot inform me because my cell phone does not work, and nobody working at Tri-West knows how to use e-mail. Because Tri-West is a private company, I should be able to sue it. Does anybody have any experience with lawsuits against Tri-West. Why isn’t the authorization sent to my choice doctor if Tri-West cannot contact me?

    • Mike Jordan March 31, 2020 at 2:20 pm

      You need to stop complaining. You are not taking care of yourself, and you expect the VA to jump thru hoops to try and fix your unhealthy life style. Go else where for your treatment. Oh that right you don’t have any other insurance. What a ahole

      • Marty M April 4, 2020 at 8:50 pm

        See below, you’re way off base.

  39. Bernice Pierre March 12, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Only 100% service connected veterans get free care for their service related condition only. Non service connected vets such as myself with decent income pay out the wahoo for their care! Since you are ignorant and uninformed about the VA you are the one that should shut your pie hole since you know nothing about what you are spewing and ranting about! I get a big bill every month! Smh

    • Gary D. Carson March 14, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      You need to do your homework on this. I have a 30% rating and have never paid for anything other than my co-pays for my meds. I have had multiple surgeries done at no cost to me. So before you speak know what your talking about.

      • Marty M April 4, 2020 at 8:29 pm

        I would suggest that if you feel that way about the VA, perhaps you can go on the market or whereever so you “pay less” despite what your co-pays etc. are. Furthermore, veterans service-connected between 10 and 40% get care, meds, etc. for their SCD disability. At 30% and above, they can claim their dependents for additional compensation. At 50% they no longer need to pay co[pays etc. for virtually anything at the VA. At 100% the veteran gets, in addition to other benefits, free dental care. Also, vets who make little to no money, depending on the year and the cut off amount of income may pay nothing as well; this includes veterans in receipt of nonservice-connected pension, as this is provided based on income. So, before you post, YOU should know what you are talking about.

        • Marty M April 4, 2020 at 8:34 pm

          My other comment is directed at Bernice P, not you.Bernie had no clue what she is talking about.

    • Vincent Rodriguez March 17, 2020 at 6:04 pm


  40. Scott Gaston March 12, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    You can’t even get a comment, a question, and math STRAIGHT!

  41. Floyd March 12, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    The V.A. couldn’t take care of a hot turd on a warm sunny day.

    • rich March 13, 2020 at 6:47 am

      The Boston VA has been great to me.

      • John D'Angelo March 17, 2020 at 7:40 pm

        I have been using the Boston VA system for 20 years and I have been treated with respect and have gotten excellent care. No Complaints

      • Richard Harrold March 17, 2020 at 11:12 pm

        Probably because they’re too busy providing A1
        Service to sick veterans. You probably couldn’t find any “hot turds” allowed at any of the squeaky cleaned offices in the VA Health system I owe my life to VA

  42. Donald J.Sabol March 12, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    California V.A.needs more physicians who authorize outside facilities to treat veterans .I have been waiting four months for dental authorizations——still waiting.

  43. Will March 12, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    not all VA facilities have testing? That’s not good since most veterans are “older” we’re strong but not immune to everything.
    Are they at least testing people in an isolated area?
    news from doctors just came out that COVID-19 can be transmitted by air or inanimate objects and can last 42 hours – Google it.

  44. stephen kiley March 12, 2020 at 11:30 am

    So everyone is getting free care and all you can contribute is btching and complaining and no thought about that everyone is under a lot of pressure in all the medical fields in and out. We all want 1st class service everywhere !
    Shut your pie holes and appreciate the care you get! And try to be thankful and express it by leaving nice messages !
    Why make everyone else miserable because you are…

    • Laura wright March 12, 2020 at 12:38 pm

      AMEN. That is real talk and I couldn’t agree more. I work in the homeless dom in Dallas VA and we are working to keep Veterans safe and COVID 19 free, but the complaining from Veterans, who most would otherwise be on the streets, is maddening.

      • Matt Davis March 17, 2020 at 7:03 pm

        I’ve been with the V A since 1989 in St Louis, Missouri and I’m amazed and ever grateful for all the doctors, nurses, and the clerks that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and get to know. I’ve been satisfied throughout my 31 years of getting treated at the Veteran’s Administration, not to mention the quality of care that every doctor that has played a part in my service connected disabilities. Dr. Stephen J. Giddings / John Cochran Hospital was my Endocrinologist for nearly 26 years, and that man is someone that I learned from as he cared for me, and he was a highly successful professional doctor with the V A. I can’t say a negative word about our V A all across our country, as I’ve been to Little Rock AR, Memphis TN, Lake City FL, and now in Cincinnati OH, the care is outward the best available to anyone of our great country the United States of America. So the veterans that are dissatisfied with their care at the V A, then by all means take your chance elsewhere and see you what your level of happiness you find yourself in then, and the amount you’d pay out of pocket compared to the out of pocket at the Veterans Administration. Be thankful for what all Veterans have at our disposal as it’s a great part of being a Veteran of the USA. Thank you!

    • Julie S March 12, 2020 at 6:17 pm

      Free? I paid for it with blood sweat and my back and various other body parts. I was exposed to radiation on my job and now I am being treated for what they did to me on my job. I am going to die early because if it. I also will never have children. So excuse us if we are not jumping for joy over waiting 6 months for an appointment where we meet people like you that treat us like we don’t matter anymore. We get the run around and disrespect every where we turn. I know I do and I try my best to keep my mouth shut nut I just felt the need to say something this time

    • Mike Jordan March 31, 2020 at 2:16 pm


    • Marty M April 4, 2020 at 8:55 pm

      Stephen, Free isn’t free when you’re talking about a call to arms and serving your country, okay? Vets have a right to complain. I’ve been to good VAMCs and I’ve been to bad ones. Everyone has a different experience.

  45. Eileen Gery March 12, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Not all VA clinics are screening for COVID-19.

  46. Davi Princ March 12, 2020 at 6:29 am

    I have called and spoke with several people at VA Wichita they say they have not heard of Video Connect. My 94 y/o father WWII veteran would like to use it fo his annual exam on 13March 2020. His name is Raymond John Princ. I have the video connect app approved for my iphone. Waiting for email from his PCP team.

  47. Dave Jeffries March 11, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    How do we get tested if we’ve recently been near someone who may well be infected and contagious?

  48. Ricardo Valentine March 11, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    I have an ophthalmology referral from my civilian Doctor. What do I do? Keep it?

  49. Michael Richardson March 11, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Really? When is this going into effect? At the DC VAMC you can walk right on in and flash anything that resembles an ID. As of yesterday, none of these precautions were in place.
    Not one time did anyone ask me any screening questions. And I went to the information desk to ask questions three times!
    This brings to mind a few more questions. Will the valet service continue? How about the shuttle service? Will those passengers be screened before boarding? Is the shuttle being scrubbed after the each day?

  50. phillip m sullivan March 11, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Good Luck in getting anyone to answer except the operator who will direct your call to the clinic but which never answers. When physically at the clinic when asked why no one answers they ALL say they have no time to answer the phone and still take care of vets at the clinic. So calling before a visit is a non-starter. As for secure messaging, you have limited addresses; mostly with your primary care provider. Best you send the message soonest as the rule is| do not expect a fast response and when you do its the rote statement “your request has been forwarded to your provider. Seldom are the responses from the providers are timely or address the situation… Getting access to the VA is very problematic and very frustrating when media outlets spiel the VA’s empty “call ahead” solution to the access situation.


    • Danielle Muldoon March 13, 2020 at 6:28 am

      I agree. The call ahead part was a bit humorous. Nobody just picks up the phone at the VA. Getting past a MSA who is about to go on a smoke break is impossible.

  51. lloyd faulkner March 11, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    i have a primary appointment that i tried to get moved but because im on pain meds they said i have to go in or be cut off. This is not right> I dont ant to be exposed but i guess i have no choice. So what good is telehealth

  52. S W March 11, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    I would not call this keeping everyone “safe”. The only thing you are doing is making veterans annoyed. This is just another contribution to causing panic about this virus.

    Why weren’t veterans notified about this happening????? Really? I wasn’t notified by anyone. The “signs” on the doors telling people the only entrances that can be used are so insignificant that they get ignored. They should have been made on neon paper, something that would stand out. Big signs should be set up at the end of any entrances to the federal reservations the V.A. hospitals are on so vets get advance notice of what to expect when they get to the facility.

    If this article is your idea of notifying veterans, it FAILED MISERABLY!!!!!! TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE!!!!!

    The only thing this tells me is that it all boils down to the all mighty dollar and how much the V.A. can save if they don’t have to pay veterans travel pay to come to their scheduled appointments!

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • Should brain injury caused by a blast wave from an explosion be considered distinct from a TBI caused by a physical impact?

  • Seeing a doctor can be a challenge for people living in rural communities. That’s why VA is making it easier than ever for Veterans to access health care. 

  • Over 750 potential candidates lined up as early as 6:30 a.m. Sept. 24, seeking employment with Birmingham VA.