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Central Texas VA announces changes to Veterans’ food pantry truck services

Posted at 3:12 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 16:12:49-04

The Central Texas Veterans Health Care System (CTVHCS) has announced changes to the Veterans’ food pantry truck services.

Veterans participating in the food pantry services are asked to adhere to a 6 ft. social distance between others. Pre-assembled boxes will be given to Veterans taking advantage of picking up food pantry items.

For Austin normally held the fourth Tuesday of each month, the service is canceled until further notice.

For Temple, regularly scheduled date is March 26 (4th Thursday each month) from 9 to 11 a.m., but the location is changed to American Legion Post 133 (parking lot) in Temple at the intersection of South 25th Street and Avenue M until further notice.

For Waco, the regularly scheduled date is April 1 (1st Monday each month) from 9 to 11 a.m., but the loocation is changed to Goodwill (parking lot) in Waco at the intersection of New Road and Bagby Avenue until further notice.

CTVHCS continues to urge Veterans who are concerned they may have symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), flu or cold should call 1-800-423-2111 before coming to CTVHCS facilties. Clinical staff are available to provide 24/7 virtual care and support, including nurse advice and triage. This service is available at no cost to Veterans enrolled for VA health care.

CTVHCS also includes the following medical centers and outpatient clinics:

· Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Medical Center in Temple, Texas

· Doris Miller Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Waco, Texas

· Austin Outpatient Clinic

· Brownwood Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC)

· Cedar Park CBOC

· Collegel Station CBOC

· LaGrange CBOC

· Palestine CBOC

· Temple Clinic Annex

· Joint VA/DoD Sleep Center in Killeen, Texas

All CTVHCS facilities are conducting mandatory screening to rapidly identify individuals who may have symptoms of respiratory illness and direct them for further triage and treatment. Patients should plan to arrive well in advance of appointments time to comply with the screening process. Entrances to the Temple and Waco campuses are limited, maps detailing the entrances are available here.

The screening consists of three questions:

1. Do you have a fever or worsening cough or shortness of breath or flu-like symptoms?

2. Have you or a close contact traveled to an area with widespread or sustained community transmission of COVID-19 within 14 days of symptom onset?

3. Have you been in close contact with someone, including health care workers, confirmed to have COVID-19?

Visitor policies are as follows:

• A temporary “no visitor” policy has been adopted at all CTVHCS facilities.

• Access to the Community Living Centers (VA nursing homes), Domiciliary, Residential Units, and visitation to the inpatient units is no longer permitted. These units are being strictly monitored to protect patients deemed more vulnerable and at higher risk. This means no outside visitors will be permitted to see residents in these units and inpatient areas. The only exceptions will be in compassionate cases, when Veterans are in their last stages of life on hospice units. Learn more about VA’s announcement here.

For outpatient clinic appointments in the Central Texas area, we strongly encourage Veterans to limit family members to one while accompanying them to their appointment or immediate caregivers only and no children under 18 years of age (including infants).

Lastly, CTVHCS has cancelled special events and/or activities and is temporarily ceasing all participation in public outreach events through April 30, 2020.

Aside from the operational changes noted, CTVHCS remains operational. Veterans with scheduled appointments should plan to attend and complete appointments as they normally would while considering extra time needed for screening.

CTVHCS understands these actions may be inconvenient to some; however, these measures will help protect those who trust VA for their care and the employees who provide that care. Additional changes to our operations may be made as the situation changes.