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Montana VA Health Care System Selected As Lead Facility To Expand VA Health Care Services

Montana VA Health Care System is ramping up faceto- face visits after COVID-19 prompted some care options to be shifted to virtual appointments. Across Montana, MTVAHCS facilities will begin expanding in-person services starting on May 18. MTVAHCS was selected as its regional Veterans Integrated Service Network lead site to be the first to implement a phased approach to reintroducing health care services while ensuring a safe environment.

“We are excited to expand our in-person options for Veterans. We are grateful for the way Veterans have remained safe, connected, and engaged with their healthcare during the challenges of the past months,” said MTVAHCS director Dr. Judy Hayman. “As a high reliability organization, Veteran and staff safety is our highest priority, and this commitment to safety will guide our decision making as we go forward. Our health care services and procedures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will be informed by federal, state, and local guidance.”

MTVAHCS will follow the Veterans Health Administration’s risk-based framework to prioritize non-urgent procedures in addition to the urgent procedures currently being performed. Evaluation of factors such as patient health, staff safety, and resource considerations will guide expansions and scheduling decisions.

Rigorous safety measures including employee and Veteran COVID-19 screening, physical distancing, and appropriate personal protective attire such as face coverings and frequent disinfection of high-touch services will remain in place at all VHA facilities.

Personalized virtual care options like telehealth, phone consults and wellness checks have been a valuable link to Veterans during the pandemic and will continue to be maximized. As additional facilities reintroduce services across the country, MTVAHCS will share best practices learned with all facilities across the country.

Veterans who have questions about accessing MTVAHCS health care should call the nurse advice line at 877-468-8387 (and press option 3).

MTVAHCS’s overall trust scores — which derive from Veteran rankings of their health care experiences— have continued to rise during the pandemic. MTVAHCS provides healthcare to Veterans across Montana through a series of community based clinics, the Miles City Community Living Center (Montana’s only federal nursing home), an acute care medical center, and robust telehealth services.

For more information, visit the MTVAHCS website and contact Public Affairs Officer Katie Beall at Catherine. [email protected] or 460-447-7303.

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