On 23 May, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Health Administration (VHA) notified the public about its three, new operational levels, called VHA COVID-19 Health Protection Levels, intended to provide a consistent, nationwide approach at its medical centers. It wants to ensure the safety of all using their facilities during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic — which has not gone away by any stretch of the imagination if you having following the reports.
The levels align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Transmission Levels designed for use by health care facilities. The website will also tell you how your county is faring. Therefore, you may expect to see much the same occurring in procedures at Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network facilities. Each level includes guidance on personal protective equipment, screening, testing, visitation, waiting rooms, group care/therapy and staffing.
The levels are on a low, medium to high scale as described below:
- Low (when community transmission level is low): Visitors are welcome, self-screening allowed and physical distancing not required.
- Medium (when community transmission level is medium or substantial): Care partners are welcome, self-screening allowed and physical distancing not required.
- High (when community transmission level is high): Visitors are limited to the discretion of the care team on a case-by-case basis, facilities may choose to screen at the door and physical distancing required.
Masking and employee screening testing, as applicable, will remain in effect at all VHA medical facilities, regardless of health protection levels.
Levels will be monitored weekly at each facility and updated to reflect any changes on Mondays. VHA will use of combination of means to notify you: signage at facility entrances, updates to local facility websites, inclusion on all voicemails, and social media … in addition to pure dumb luck. Probably the best source of information for monitoring the current level of a VA facility that you use, if you are computer or smartphone inclined, is the VA medical center locator. As of this announcement, Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center, the Allentown outpatient Clinic, and Northampton County outptient clinic are on high alert.
Learn more about VHA Health Protection Levels.
Sources Wilkes-Barre and Va press releases, 24 May 2022.
As of 24 May 2022