Showing posts with label disabled veterans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label disabled veterans. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Some Veterans with dependents may "wait until 2021 for their stimulus checks"

With IRS Deadline Looming, Some Veterans May Still Wait Months for Stimulus Money
By Patricia Kime
4 May 2020

Making veterans who can't fill out the online form wait until 2021 for their stimulus checks, when they can file a tax return that includes dependents, is "incompatible with the goals" of the stimulus money, Takano said.
The Internal Revenue Service has set a deadline of May 5 for veterans to register for dependent payouts, after initially saying they would have only two days. But the guidance, along with warnings that veterans who don't complete the form now will have to wait until next year for their stimulus funds, has left some confused and scrambling.

"We have several veterans with no Internet access," one email received by said. "Are you able to get at least 25 copies of this IRS form mailed to us?"

Nearly 7% of U.S. veterans live below the poverty level, and more than two million veteran households lack fixed or mobile broadband connections at home, according to a Federal Communications Commission study released last year. read it here

Saturday, May 2, 2020

COVID-19 "2,000 cases within VA in the last five days"

Veterans Affairs adds 2,000 new coronavirus cases in five days, deaths top 500

Military Times
Leo Shane III
May 1, 2020

Veterans Affairs patient deaths from coronavirus topped 500 overnight and cases rose to nearly 9,000 as the illness continues to spread within the department’s health system.
Nurse Heather Espinal stands in front of the James J. Peters Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center where she works in New York City on April 22, 2020. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

As of Friday morning, 8,798 patients had contracted the fast-spreading virus, an increase of more than 2,000 cases within VA in the last five days. On April 2, the system had fewer than 2,000 total cases.

Dozens of sites have recorded more than 100 coronavirus cases among patients. The hardest-hit sites are all in the New York City area, while department hospitals in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. have all recorded more than 200 cases.

As of Friday morning, VA has seen 512 deaths from the illness. That’s up 88 cases in the last five days. On April 1, the system had reported only 53 deaths.
read it here

VA ordered almost $300,000 worth of body bags in April

Veterans Affairs ordered nearly $300,000 in body bags due to coronavirus


Veterans Affairs ordered nearly $300,000 in body bags due to coronavirus
The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) ordered almost $300,000 worth of body bags in April amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A contract document first reviewed by Politico shows that the VA ordered the body bags from a major contractor called ISO Group on April 15.

The VA has seen its number of COVID-19 cases and death rise. As of Thursday, 8,500 VA patients had tested positive for the virus and nearly 500 had died. Since the VA signed the contract on April 15, it has reported 3,000 new cases.

It is unclear if the purchase of the body bags was related to the pandemic or how many bags were purchased.

The Hill has reached out to the VA for comment.

The Trump administration ordered over 100,000 body bags in April, for a reported $5.1 million. The order was placed was the day after President Trump said that the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus might not exceed 50,000 or 60,000 people.
read it here

Friday, May 1, 2020

VA denies veterans used as "test subjects" with hydroxychloroquine

Wilkie defends VA hydroxychloroquine use, says vets weren't used as 'test subjects'

Connecting Vets
Abbie Bennett
April 30, 2020
About 28 percent of those given the drug died compared to 11 percent who were given only routine care. The drug did not make a difference in the need for a breathing machine such as a ventilator and researchers noted that the drug may have damaged other organs.
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie defended the VA's use of hydroxychloroquine, a drug so far unproven as a treatment for COVID-19, Wednesday after being accused of using veterans as "test subjects."

In a letter and a call to veteran service organizations representing millions of former service members on Wednesday, Wilkie downplayed a non-clinical study conducted using VA records of veteran patients in department hospitals who were treated with the drug. The study showed that veterans were more likely to die or require ventilation if treated with the antimalarial drug than if they were under only standard care.

The call and letter follow Wilkie advocating for the drug last week, arguing it had been effective for younger and middle-aged veterans, though so far there is no published evidence supporting that.

In the letter, obtained by Connecting Vets, Wilkie said the study showing veterans were more likely to die or worsen when treated with the drug "led to misinformation about what did and did not happen at VA."

He said veteran patients with the virus were treated with the drug only with guidance from a doctor and denied the allegation vets were used as "test subjects" for the drug.
read it here

Thursday, April 30, 2020

VA Electronic health records plan massive failure continues

VA's $16 Billion Electronic Health Records Modernization Plan Is Failing, IG Says
By Richard Sisk
April 28, 2020
"For 10 years we've heard the same assurances that the electronic health records problem will be solved. It's incredible that we can't get this fixed." Rep. Hal Rogers, Kentucky

Claims piled up at the VA Regional Office in Winston-Salem, N.C. (VA Office of Inspector General)

A $16 billion effort to give veterans lifetime electronic health records that meshed with the Pentagon's has been marked by repeated delays and oversight failures that could have put patients at risk, according to reports from the VA Inspector General.

The IG reports released Monday detailed confusion in the overall implementation of the plan and failures to train staff and put in place adequate equipment for the pilot program, such as new laptops.

The first IG report, titled "Deficiencies in Infrastructure Readiness for Deploying VA's New Electronic Health Record [EHR] System," looked at how the Department of Veterans Affairs went about implementing the initial $10 billion, 10-year contract with Cerner Corp. of Kansas.

The VA now estimates that the contract, awarded in May 2018 by then-Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie without competitive bidding, will now cost at least another $6 billion for management and equipment.

The second report focused on delays and failures in the pilot program, even after it was scaled back from three test sites to one at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Spokane, Washington.
read it here

Just some background on the problem since it was after all these reports the spending spree started...and kept going,

VA, more promises, more waiting on fix to come
VA claim backlog at 816,211 but IT cut back WFT
8,763 vets died waiting for benefits
VA 400,000 claim backlog causes search for tech savvy workers
Hundreds of Veterans Claims were in the shredding bins at VA Detroit office
VFW reports 4 VA offices involved in document shredding

VA Claim backlog hit 915,000 on May 4, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Veteran in Soldier's Home took last COVID-19 breath next to veteran eating meal!

Let this sink in for a second before you read anything else.
Soldiers’ home employees told WCVB the merging of residents on the first floor created a situation where one veteran was taking his last breaths while the veteran next to him was eating his meal, both without any privacy.

Now read the rest.

More than 70 veterans dead in ‘horrific’ coronavirus outbreak at Massachusetts facility

WCVB 5 Boston
Kathy Curran
5 Investigates Reporter
April 29, 2020

The number of deaths at a Boston veterans home are staggering. More than 70 veterans have died since the beginning of the pandemic. Now, frustrated employees are speaking out about the horror they saw inside.
Sister station WCVB spoke with several employees at Holyoke Soldiers Home during the past few weeks, who said managers of the home were unprepared and did not follow protocols. One long-time worker called the soldiers' home a death trap.

“What kind of a system is this? We're talking about 21st century United States of America,” said Kwesi Ablordeppe, a long-time certified nurse's aide at the soldiers’ home. “We're talking about the veterans who put their lives on the line to save us. And is that how we're going to treat them?”
Ablordeppe said he's frustrated and heartbroken by the horror he has witnessed inside the soldiers’ home since COVID-19 took hold there. The flag is lowered as somber ceremonies honoring the lives lost take place almost every day. It is a place where Ablordeppe has loved to work for 20 years. Now, walking through the doors is almost unbearable.
read it here

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Supporting the troops needs to be more than a slogan during pandemic

Time to stop the political nonsense

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 28, 2020

All day I have been trying to put together some interesting reports on what is happening to our troops, as well as our veterans. All day, I have been involved in debates that should have been based on facts and not political comments that do not add anything to coming any closer to actually supporting them.

The worst on was about FEMA taking masks that were appropriated by the VA.

As coronavirus cases rise, VA leaders blame supply shortages on FEMA

On Saturday, in an interview in the Washington Post, Veterans Health Administration acting executive Richard Stone acknowledged that some hospitals have been forced into “austerity levels” as Federal Emergency Management Agency officials have diverted planned supplies to the government’s emergency stockpile. (Military Times)
A comment that it turned my stomach caused someone to respond by saying it was a political attack agains the president instead of "corrupt FEMA" showing no understanding of how the government works, what they are responsible for...and who is actually responsible for every department.

 This exchange wasted more than my time. Stuff like that takes time all of us should have been making sure we actually live up to the slogan of "support the troops" and actually treat the best military in the world AS IF THEY WERE WORTHY OF EVERYTHING WE CAN DO FOR THEM!

Cutting T-shirts to cover their faces?

April 5, 2020 Military Times
Service members will be instructed to start wearing face coverings in public in the latest effort to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in in a military-wide memo issued Sunday afternoon.DoD will not issue masks specifically for this and the memo says individuals should make their own face coverings.
How the coronavirus pandemic has shaken the US military

Analysis by Barbara Starr
CNN Pentagon Correspondent
April 28, 2020

One of the clearest indicators of the level of concern within the Pentagon is the fact Defense Secretary Mark Esper has put strict limits on the amount of information being shared with the American public.

(CNN)The Department of Defense had unusual visitors on Thursday morning.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, two of President Donald Trump's key coronavirus advisers and public faces of the crisis, donned masks and were shown into "the tank" which is the Pentagon's secure conference room. They were there to meet with Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten to discuss the military's efforts to manage the coronavirus pandemic and the medical expertise needed to protect the country's 1.4 million military personnel.

The meeting underscored a critical national security issue that has not been publicly discussed in detail by the President, the challenge of ensuring the military is ready to deploy and fight amid the pandemic.

As the country prepares for a possible second wave of the virus this fall, the obstacles facing the Pentagon are massive. They range from assembling robust testing capabilities to ensuring there is a constantly replenished supply of personal protective equipment, while all the while continuing to provide medical personnel to support the civilian healthcare system.

And beyond keeping the military functioning there's a realization within the that the pandemic could upend geopolitics and create new and unpredictable threats to US national security.
read it here

Until we actually get politics out of the way, we will keep failing them! They deserve only the best from us. So far, we sure as hell do not deserve them. Still think this is political? I have gone after every president since Reagan...and none of them lived up to what they promised any generation.

UPDATE: Navy destroyer with COVID-19 outbreak arrives in San Diego; 1 in 5 on Theodore Roosevelt now have virus

The Navy said Monday that 955 Roosevelt sailors have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, about one in five crew members. About half the infected are showing no symptoms, the Navy says.

The service also changed how it determines if a sailor has recovered from COVID-19. On Saturday, the Navy reported 112 Roosevelt sailors had recovered from the virus; now, it says, only 14 have. (San Diego News Tribune)

Monday, April 27, 2020

Director of Oregon VA "morale building exercise" flashmob ignored COVID-19 recommendations

How serious is the VA taking this pandemic that anyone thought this would "build morale" instead of spreading death?

Roseburg VA director leads coronavirus dance party without social distancing, face masks

KGW8 News
The Oregonian/OregonLive
Author: Ted Sickinger
April 25, 2020

Just a week ago, the Roseburg VA confirmed four members of its medical center staff and one patient had tested positive for COVID-19.
ROSEBURG, Oregon — An internal video obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive shows the director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Administration Medical Center in Roseburg holding a flash mob dance party in hospital offices with at least 16 staff, none of them consistently wearing protective equipment or maintaining social distance.

The event appears to be a morale building exercise and was posted Friday on the hospital’s internal intranet, one of the regular updates that Director Keith M. Allen has been posting on COVID-19 and other topics. The updates are viewable by all 1,000 employees in the Roseburg VA district, which covers four southern Oregon counties and a slice of Northern California.

The district serves some 56,000 veterans, many of them elderly and with preexisting conditions. Just a week ago, a Roseburg VA administrator confirmed that four members of the medical center’s staff – including a nurse who ended up on a ventilator in a Portland hospital -- and one patient had tested positive for COVID-19.
read it here

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Reports of veterans dying of COVID-19 going up

Veterans Dying Of COVID-19

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 22, 2020

This will be updated as reports come in. All of the following just came in today. Check back for updates.

Fort Worth Coronavirus Victim’s Last Words to Family: ‘I Love You’
Marcus Lee, a husband, father of two, Navy veteran and federal government worker from Fort Worth, died Friday of coronavirus.
He was 40.
"He was so sweet,” his wife Karlisha Lee said in an interview Tuesday. “He was always giving."

Coronavirus In Texas: City Councilman And His Husband Die Within Hours Of Each Other
SAN ANTONIO (CBSDFW.COM) – Anthony Brooks was a city councilman in Live Oak, Texas — about 20 miles northeast of San Antonio. The Air Force veteran and his husband, Phillip Tsai-Brooks, died within days of each other of complications from COVID-19.

70-year-old veteran is 1st virus death reported at Beaumont Army Medical Center
EL PASO, Texas -- A 70-year-old military veteran is the first death stemming from the coronavirus to be reported at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center.
The El Paso VA Health Care System announced the death on Tuesday afternoon.

El Paso VA patient dies from COVID-19
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14/CBS4) — The El Paso Veteran Affairs reported that a patient of theirs died Monday evening.

The official said the patient contracted the coronavirus previously.

The patient was in their 70s and had multiple underlying health conditions.

Another resident at the Frank M. Tejeda Veterans Home dies as COVID-19 outbreak continues
FLORESVILLE, Texas - Two veterans have now died at the Frank M. Tejeda Veterans Home in Floresville.

According to the Texas Veterans Land Board, the veteran died from COVID-19 since last updating us on the numbers at the home Monday. The veteran is one of 10 who have tested positive at the nursing home, which also has had five staff members test positive.

Iraq Veteran Sunnie Smith died while waiting for liver transplant from the VA

Army veteran dies while waiting on liver transplant, family remains frustrated by VA health care system

First Coast News
Author: Ken Amaro
April 20, 2020
On Saturday, Army Veteran Sunnie Smith died from complications related to her disease. She leaves behind a 10-year-old and many who loved her.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Sunnie Smith's name is not on the Veterans Memorial Wall, but she is being remembered as a hero on the battle lines and on her bed of affliction.

"She was my hero," said Betty Smith.

Sunnie Smith did two tours in Iraq, came home and fought the biggest fight of her life. We met the Smith family a year ago.

Sunnie Smith was in the heart of her fight with liver disease and with the Veterans Affairs healthcare system.

"She needed that liver and we kept waiting and we kept waiting to be put on that list," said Betty Smith.

Betty Smith became her daughter's biggest advocate and made appeals with the VA and with her U.S. congressmen to put her daughter on the organ transplant list.

"She needed a liver and she fought the disease with courage," she said.

The army veteran was in the final stages of liver failure. The family says during her second tour in Iraq she became ill, and shortly afterward, they discovered the source of her illness.

Smith said in 2018, the VA, which was her primary health care provider, told them her daughter would possibly be accepted by a center in Virginia for a liver transplant. The hold up was her MELD score.
read it here

Friday, April 17, 2020

Veterans Affairs lifts restrictions on masks for health workers...and is now under investigation

update VA pledges more masks for medical staff who were rationing supplies

Federal investigation launched as Veterans Affairs lifts restrictions on masks for health workers

ABC News
Quinn Owen
April 17, 2020

The numbers of infected employees continue to grow along with the rising case count among the nation's veterans. So far 284 veterans seeking treatment at VA-run facilities have died while the number of confirmed positive cases reached nearly 5,000 on Thursday.

Federal officials have launched an investigation into allegations that the Department of Veterans Affairs is putting its health care workers in danger as they continue to work on the front lines fighting the novel coronavirus, according to a Department of Labor letter obtained by ABC News.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation comes in response to a VA union complaint last week that medical workers who were exposed to infected patients did not receive coronavirus testing and lacked sufficient protective equipment, including N95 respirators, eye protection, face masks and gowns.
read it here

VA secretary refuses to share documents that detail PPE supply, lawmakers say
The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs has requested the documentation dozens of times since March 23. Eight Democrats on the committee, including its chairman, Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., wrote to the White House Task Coronavirus Task Force on Thursday morning asking that it be shared immediately.

“If VA does not provide our committees with timely information, we cannot adequately exercise our oversight responsibilities, nor can we work with VA to minimize the harm to our veterans caused by this pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote. (Stars and Stripes

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Man charged with trying to sell $750 million in “nonexistent respirator masks” to the VA!

Georgia Man Allegedly Tried To Sell $750M in Nonexistent Masks To Veterans Affairs

By Aaron Boyd
Senior Editor, Nextgov
APRIL 13, 2020

The man tried the same scheme on state governments, according to prosecutors.

Federal agencies are cracking down on coronavirus-related fraud, including schemes targeting government agencies.

On Friday, the Justice Department announced charges against a 39-year-old Georgia man for allegedly trying to sell more than $750 million in “nonexistent respirator masks” to the Veterans Affairs Department.

According to a release announcing the charges, Christopher Parris, of Atlanta, told VA he could source 125 million face masks and other personal protective equipment, or PPE, despite allegedly knowing he could not deliver.

“For example, the complaint alleges that Parris promised that he could obtain millions of genuine 3M masks from domestic factories when he knew that fulfilling the orders would not be possible,” the release states. “Parris also allegedly made similar false representations to other entities in an effort to enter into other fraudulent agreements to sell PPE to state governments.”

Parris was charged with wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
read it here

Saturday, April 11, 2020

COVID-19 positive 4 employees, 14 patients at West Palm Beach VA

4 employees, 14 patients at West Palm Beach VA Medical Center test positive for coronavirus

By: Linnie Supall , Matt Papaycik
Apr 10, 2020

3,700 veteran patients at VA medical facilities around the country have tested positive for COVID-19, the Veterans Affairs Department said.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Four employees at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials confirm.

A spokesperson wouldn't provide any additional details about the conditions of those patients.

In addition, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 14 veteran patients at the West Palm Beach hospital have tested positive for COVID-19.
read it here

Veteran with cancer cannot get treatment from VA because of state borders and COVID-19

Veteran and family plead for hospitals to treat his stage 4 cancer

Apr 10, 2020
"I was informed that my father had no scheduled appointment. Even all of the CT scans, his chemo, everything had been canceled, but no one had contacted us," said Barron who's been trying to contact the VA Hospital in Shreveport to see if her father's treatments could be moved to that location.
BENTLEY, La. (KALB)- 64-year-old Byron Walters has been to Vietnam and back, serving his country in the United States Army.

He's currently battling the COVID-19 pandemic with the rest of Louisiana on top of stage 4 cancer.

"I have prostate cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer and liver cancer," said Walters as he explained that he's due for his fourth round of chemotherapy.

The VA Hospital in Houston, Texas has been treating him since he found out about his cancer and that's where he was scheduled to travel for his next appointment this month. He's been told that his treatments should be done no more than 3 weeks apart.
read it here

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Reno man is accused of stealing hundreds of surgical masks from a Veterans Affairs

Reno man charged with stealing surgical masks from VA hospital

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Katelyn Newberg
April 8, 2020

A Reno man is accused of stealing hundreds of surgical masks from a Veterans Affairs medical center, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Peter Lucas, 35, was arrested Tuesday in Reno and appeared Wednesday in federal court in connection with the theft from the Ioannis A. Lougaris VA Medical Center, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. He is charged with one count of theft of health care property.

“Our military veterans served on the front lines to protect our country, and now our health professionals are doing the same in our fight against COVID-19,” U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich said in a statement. “We will not allow the theft of personal protective equipment to go undeterred, endangering the safety of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals protecting our communities.”
read it here

Monday, April 6, 2020

Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital Director orders "all hands on deck" exposing them and veterans to COVID-19

Veterans hospital employees fear new work-from-home ban will endanger community

Chicago Sun Times
By Jake Wittich
Apr 5, 2020

The hospital’s new director, James Doelling, sent an email to Hines VA staffers calling for “all hands on deck” after many employees had already been working from home for weeks.

Employees at the Chicago-area Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital are concerned about a new “all hands on deck” directive that would send employees who have already been working from home amid the coronavirus outbreak back into the field.

The workers include social workers, dietitians, psychiatrists and more at the hospital whose services began shifting to telehealth practices when Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 began mid-March.

Some — like a social worker and mother of a 3-year-old — started working from home weeks ago while others began teleworking as recently as last week.

But that seemingly came to an abrupt end last week when the hospital’s new director, James Doelling, sent an email to Hines VA staffers calling for “all hands on deck” as the center prepared for a surge of veterans in need of services.
read it here

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Why is the VA still forcing veterans for in person comp exams during pandemic?

KARE 11 Investigates: VA continues high-risk exams during COVID-19 crisis

KARE 11 News
A.J. Lagoe, Steve Eckert
April 3, 2020
But veterans across the country, some of them high-risk for coronavirus infection, say they’re still being ordered to attend in-person benefits exams with VA contractors.
ST PAUL, Minn — “I was told I needed to go into New York City next week to get an in-person benefits exam,” said a 30-year-old Stamford, Connecticut Army Veteran. “I said, ‘I can’t do that for obvious reasons.’”

That veteran spoke on-camera and on-the-record but asked not to be named over fears it would negatively impact his benefits claim. He’s part of a new lawsuit that states the Department of Veterans Affairs is risking veterans’ lives during the COVID-19 crisis by forcing veterans to attend pension exams or risk losing their benefits.

“It’s an unnecessary risk,” said attorney Harold Hoffman who filed the lawsuit against the VA. “It’s not just risky, there is no reason for the risk!” he added.

In order to limit coronavirus exposure for vulnerable veterans, the Veterans Benefits Administration closed its 56 regional offices, including the St. Paul office on March 19th.
read it here

Veteran Service Groups join forces to insure veterans get their relief checks

Senators, VSOs to VA: Work with IRS to ensure all veterans get federal $1,200 relief checks

Connecting Vets
APRIL 03, 2020
Not all veterans or their beneficiaries file annual taxes. But the government plans to primarily use prior tax filings to determine eligibility and where to send the federal coronavirus relief payments.
Leading Veterans Affairs lawmakers in the Senate and top national Veteran Service Organizations are calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that all eligible veterans can receive federal relief checks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Senators Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, and Jon Tester, D-Mont., who lead the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, urged the VA Under Secretary for Benefits Dr. Paul Lawrence to create a plan between VA and the IRS to ensure veterans and other VA beneficiaries who don't have to file tax returns still get the checks without additional red tape.

VSOs representing millions of veterans nationwide also sent a letter to VA and the Treasury Department urging them to take "whatever actions necessary to identify and electronically pay" the relief to veterans who do not file tax returns. Those groups included: Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America, Fleet Reserve Association, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Blinded Veterans of America and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
read it here

Miami VA hospital rationing medical masks...but USAID sent them overseas?

Report: Federal Agency Shipped Face Masks Overseas as Veterans Affairs Hospital Rationed Them

National Review
April 3, 2020

A federal agency reportedly shipped face masks overseas from a Miami warehouse even as a nearby Veterans Affairs hospital was rationing them due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Boxes of N95 protective masks for use by medical field personnel in New Rochelle, New York, March 17, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had a warehouse of face masks sitting unused in Miami while a Veterans Affairs hospital in the city was telling its health care workers to use the same face mask for an entire week, Fox News reported.

Later, USAID exported the masks overseas. Since then, however, the administration has reportedly halted USAID shipments of personal protective equipment out of the country.
read it here

Friday, April 3, 2020

Nurses warn "significant deficiencies in VA readiness to respond to the coronavirus epidemic"

VA staffers sound alarm over shortages in staffing, equipment

Military Times
Leo Shane III
April 3, 2020

Nurse Irma Westmoreland said the Veterans Affairs hospital where she works has already run out of paper gowns and is warning staffers to ration their use of linens out of concerns the facility may run out of protective equipment for use on a daily basis.
Members of National Nurses United protest between shifts at the Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland, Calif., on March 23, 2020. A similar protest is scheduled for next week at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Brooklyn, to raise concerns about a lack of resources for staff to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy of NNU)

The site — the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Ga. — has only had five confirmed cases of coronavirus so far.

“When we get a surge of cases, where will we be?” said Westmoreland, a 30-year employee at VA and vice president of National Nurses United, which represents 12,000 nurses at 23 different VA sites across the country. “I’m afraid for my co-workers and I’m afraid for my family.”

Union officials are raising concerns this week about what they see as significant deficiencies in VA readiness to respond to the coronavirus epidemic, which has already killed more than 6,000 Americans.

On Monday, NNU members from the Brooklyn VA facility in New York City are planning a between-shifts protest of conditions there, promising no disruption in care but also more public awareness of the problems staff are facing.
read it here