COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information for Patients and Visitors - VA Maryland Health Care System
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VA Maryland Health Care System

 

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information for Patients and Visitors

Updated May 14, 2020

The safety of our Veteran patients and employees continues to be our top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are evaluating the latest guidance from VA, the CDC and the Governor’s Office on a regular basis and will begin reopening clinics and services when it is safe and appropriate. There is currently no timeline for when this will occur, but we encourage you to stay up to date with what is happening throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System by:

  • Visiting our website at: www.maryland.va.gov
  • Calling our COVID-19 Information Line at: 410-605-7384
  • Enrolling for Email Updates at: www.maryland.va.gov and enter your email address under “Connect with VA Maryland Health Care System”
  • Visiting our Social Media Pages:
When we start opening clinics and services, we will also send a postcard to the home address currently listed in our computerized patient records system for all Veteran patients who are receiving care throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System. To ensure your postcard is mailed to the correct address, please report any change of address to the Veterans Health Administration Call Center Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. by calling 877-222-8387 and press option 1.

For now, please continue to follow the safeguards listed below that we have put in place to protect you and others from the spread of COVID-19 and to maintain a safe and healthy environment.

Closing of Outpatient Clinics

  • All outpatient clinics throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System are closed temporarily to protect against the spread of COVID-19. This includes the Primary Care Clinics at the Baltimore, Loch Raven and Perry Point VA Medical Centers (VAMC) and all services at the Cambridge, Eastern Baltimore County, Fort Meade, Glen Burnie and Pocomoke City VA Outpatient Clinics.
  • All routine outpatient clinic visits are being conducted via a telephone or video visit or rescheduled as appropriate, except for oncology, radiation oncology and other specialty care clinic visits that are medically necessary.
  • All elective surgeries and procedures, except for emergencies and care that needs immediate attention, have been cancelled.

Closing of Baltimore VA Annex

  • The Baltimore VA Annex is temporarily closed, and all patient care services have been moved to the Baltimore VA Medical Center (VAMC) or are being conducted by telephone or video visits. Here are more details about this transition:
  • Walk-in Homeless Services have moved to Room 6A-200 on the 6th floor at the Baltimore VAMC.
  • To contact the VA Homeless Hotline, please call 877-424-3838.
  • Walk-in Urgent Mental Health Services are available in the Mental Health Triage Clinic at the Baltimore VAMC in 6A-101A on the 6th floor.
  • To contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, please call 800-273-8255 and Press 1.

Closing of Perry Point VA Medical Center Campus

The campus of the Perry Point VA Medical Center is closed to the public until further notice. This closure applies to the entire campus, including non-patient areas like the shoreline and walking trails. Only VA employees, outpatients with scheduled clinic appointments, residential care patients, residents of the HELP Veterans Village, and authorized deliveries will be granted access to the campus.

Universal Masking Policy

Patients are required to wear a mask at all times when visiting a VA Maryland Health Care System facility for a scheduled, onsite clinic appointment. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, patients that refuse to wear a mask will not be allowed to enter a VA facility or will be asked to leave if they do not wear a mask while waiting for an appointment or traveling throughout a VA facility. Patients with a scheduled, onsite clinic appointment will be issued a mask when entering the VA facility.

Visitor Guidance

Visitors are not authorized throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System to protect our patients and staff from the spread of COVID-19, except for the following:

  • Two visitors for end-of-life care and decision making;
  • One escort for patients being discharged from inpatient care;
  • One escort for medically compromised outpatients for oncology, radiation oncology or another specialty care clinic appointment;
  • One visitor who has been asked by the inpatient care team to attend and be part of the treatment and discharge planning process.
  • All visitors will be screened for flu-like symptoms and will be required to wear a mask at all times while in a VA facility.  Visitors that do not pass the screening process will not be allowed to enter the facility.

Mail-Order Prescriptions Only    

Pharmacy has switched to all mail-order prescriptions in order to limit exposure to COVID-19. The Outpatient Pharmacies at the Baltimore and Perry Point VAMC will ONLY honor emergent prescription needs for in-person pick up. Emergent prescriptions include post-surgical, emergency department and discharge medication needs. All other medications and supplies will be mailed. Please allow 7 to 10 days for prescription delivery. Veterans have the following options to refill their prescriptions:

  • By calling the Prescription Refill Line at 410-605-7395. After hearing the greeting, enter your full nine-digit Social Security number followed by the “#” sign. Next, press option “2” for Pharmacy Information, and then press option “1” to order prescription refills.
  • By completing and signing the refill request slip you received with your prescription and using the mailing label that was included to send it in to one of our two pharmacies.
  • By submitting a refill request through My HealtheVet at www.myhealth.va.gov.
  • If you have no remaining refills, call the Prescription Refill Line at 410-605-7395. After hearing the greeting, enter your full nine-digit Social Security number followed by the “#” sign. Next, press option “2” for Pharmacy Information, and then press option “8” to talk to a pharmacy representative.

Screenings

Anyone one entering any VA Maryland Health Care System facility (including the Baltimore parking garage) will be screened using Coronavirus-related questions.

COVID-19 Testing

The VA Maryland Health Care System is currently only offering COVID-19 testing for hospitalized patients and outpatients who meet specified criteria as determined by a member of the treatment team.

Please Remember: If you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, call the Telephone Care Line at 800-865-2441, and press 1 before coming to a VA facility.

Important Telephone Numbers 

  • Telephone Care Line: If you need medical advice, call the Telephone Care Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-865-2441 and Press 1.
  • Medical Emergencies:  If you are having a medical or mental health emergency, dial 911 immediately.
  • Veterans Crisis Line: If you are a Veteran in crisis, there are specially trained responders ready to help you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 800-273-8255 and Press 1.

Stay Informed

  • To receive the latest COVID-19 information from the VA Maryland Health Care System, enroll for our E-News Subscription Service. To enroll, visit www.maryland.va.gov and enter your email address under “Subscribe to Receive Email Updates” on our homepage. 
  • You can also receive COVID-19-updates by calling our VA Maryland Health Care System COVID-19 Information Line at 410-605-7384. (This is a recording only and does not accept voicemails.)
  • For the latest guidance from VA about the Coronavirus, visit www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus