More than 30 medical professionals are providing assistance at Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care (GCVHCS) facilities as part of a planned response to ongoing staffing considerations.

Nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses reported in early August to the Biloxi VA Medical Center. Their arrival is part of the planned response to Veterans in need during the ongoing global health crisis. The specialized health care professionals were scheduled for a two-week rotation or more. Their tasking provides continuity of care to Veterans at the Biloxi VA Medical Center.

“These VA medical professionals represent the core of what we’re all about. They provide the best care possible to Gulf Coast-area Veterans,” said GCVHCS Director Bryan C. Matthews. “Their knowledge and expertise are an integral part of this VA-initiated response to ongoing health issues throughout the United States. This will allow us to provide more care to Veterans and others in our area.”

The health care professionals were augmented through VA’s Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System (DEMPS). The system is the department’s main deployment program for clinical and non-clinical staff to an emergency or disaster.

Nurses from VA facilities in three states

According to DEMPS program manager Bill Wince, medical professionals augmented through the program are scheduled to provide services in the Biloxi VA Medical Center’s long-term acute care unit, the intensive care unit, and in the facility’s medical and surgical wards.

He said the volunteer effort also includes medical professionals from VA facilities in New Orleans and Fayetteville, Louisiana; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“The DEMPS program relies on volunteers for its success,” Wince said. “They [volunteers] can also support other VA facilities during planned and unplanned surges in patient care workloads. DEMPS helps our national health care system, its Veterans and VA facilities.”

Wince added that the augmentation of these health care professionals also allows Biloxi VA Medical Center medical professionals to engage in VA’s Fourth Mission. That mission provides assistance to medical facilities and organizations outside of VA when needed.

The GCVHCS includes Biloxi VA Medical Center and the Mobile VA Clinic in Alabama; the Eglin Air Force Base VA Clinic, Panama City Beach VA Clinic, and the Joint Ambulatory Care Center (JACC) in Pensacola, Florida. The GSVHCS is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, and provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 70,000 Veterans.

Bruce Cummins is a public affairs specialist with the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System.

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Published on Sep. 7, 2020

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