VISN 12 - VA Great Lakes Health Care System
VA Great Lakes Health Care System Supports VA "Fourth Mission" COVID-19 Response
May 8, 2020
WESTCHESTER, Ill. – The VA Great Lakes Health Care System, Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 12, continues to support the VA’s Fourth Mission of caring for U.S. citizens in times of national crisis.
Fourth Mission support requests flow through the Department of Health and Human Services, as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) National Response Coordination Center. Two VA Great Lakes Health Care System medical facilities in Illinois, Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital and Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, have accepted intensive care, acute medical and surgical community patients as part of COVID-19 pandemic response efforts. This support was approved after the VA determined care to Veterans would not be negatively impacted.
“In the VA, Veterans have always been our top priority,” said Victoria Brahm, VA Great Lakes Health Care System network director. “However, as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fourth Mission is how we help all Americans fight coronavirus. This is a critical mission, and one we are ready for.”
The VA Great Lakes Health Care System will continue to accept mission assignments from FEMA to open beds for non-Veteran patients after a determination is made that care to Veterans will not be disrupted.
“These additional beds could literally mean the difference between life and death for people in our local communities who are suffering from this virus,” said Brahm.
Nearly 25 humanitarian patients are now being cared for by VA health care providers in Chicago and Hines, Ill.
“I think it’s a real success that we’ve had over 65 referrals from the community,” said Carolina Mosley, VA Great Lakes Health Care System clinical community care program manager. “Our triage team has received positive feedback from the community on how supportive and streamlined our processes are. It’s been a great collaboration, and community hospitals have been very appreciative of the help.”
States that require assistance from VA should request it through their local Department of Health and Human Services Regional Emergency Coordinator — part of FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center. Counties, cities and other municipalities should route all requests for federal support through their respective states.
VA continues to encourage Veterans, staff members and their families to take precautions to protect against respiratory illnesses caused by COVID-19, the flu and the common cold, and to follow the guidance of their local and state health care and emergency management officials.
The VA Great Lakes Health Care System, VISN 12, with its eight medical centers, 41 outpatient clinics (including one Health Care Center), eight nursing homes, and seven domiciliaries, provides health care services to almost 800,000 Veterans who reside within its four-state (Illinois, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin, and Northwest Indiana) area.