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

Last updated November 24, 2020

This page contains COVID-19 information regarding the VA Maryland Health Care System. The safety of our patients and employees continues to be our top priority during the pandemic.


Moving Forward (Reopening)

Virtual Care Options


Emergency and Urgent Care


Telephone Care Line & Veterans Crisis Line


Scheduled Clinic Appointments

Centralized Check-in for Specialty Appointments


Checking in with VEText


Visitor Guidance


Prescriptions

Important Telephone Numbers


Staying Informed
                              
                                                                                               

FALL/WINTER 2020 UPDATES

With COVID-19 cases on the rise throughout Maryland, we recently mailed a postcard to enrolled Veterans with tips to help keep safe and reminders on how to access VA health care during the pandemic. If you received that postcard, you can click the links below for more information. 

Find a COVID-19 Testing Site Near You

Tips for Holiday Gatherings from the CDC

COVID-19 Prevention Tips from the CDC

Important Telephone Numbers

  • Appointments: 410-605-7333
  • Prescriptions: 410-605-7395
  • Primary Care: 410-605-7777
  • Telephone Care Line: 800-865-2441, press 1
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255, press 1

Moving Forward (Reopening)
We are currently in Phase 2 of our Moving Forward Plan. As of July 6, all VA Maryland Health Care System sites are open for limited face-to-face scheduled clinic appointments. See Scheduled Clinic Appointments for information on scheduling a clinic appointment.

 

Virtual Care Options
For the safety of our Veteran patients, we encourage them to continue using our virtual care options (telehealth and video appointments) for specialty care, primary care and mental health services. 

When you call our Appointment Center (410-605-7333) to schedule a new primary care appointment with your VA primary care provider, you will be scheduled for a virtual appointment first. When you have your virtual appointment, your VA primary care provider will make a clinical determination if a face-to-face appointment is needed. If your provider determines a face-to-face visit is needed, a scheduling clerk will call you to schedule you for a face-to-face appointment.

Read an article on virtual care:
VA Virtual Care Keeps Veterans Connected and Safe

Emergency and Urgent Care
The Emergency Department at the Baltimore VA Medical Center and the Urgent Care Clinic at the Perry Point VA Medical Center remain OPEN during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both are safe options for receiving urgent health care during the pandemic.

The Emergency Department at the Baltimore VA Medical Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the Urgent Care Clinic at the Perry Point VA Medical Center is open Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Telephone Care Line & Veteran Crisis Line
As a reminder, Veterans needing medical advice can contact the Telephone Care Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-865-2441 (press 1), and Veterans in crisis can speak with a specially trained responder 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-273-8255 (press 1).

Scheduled Clinic Appointments

If you will be visiting a VA Maryland Health Care System facility for a scheduled clinic appointment or emergency or urgent care visit, you will find safety measures we have put in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

Be Prepared for Your Visit:

Access to Facilities
Access to VA Maryland Health Care System facilities is restricted to patients with scheduled clinic appointments and those visiting the Emergency Department or Urgent Care Clinic. Visitors are restricted with limited exceptions. See Visitor Guidance.

The Perry Point VA Medical Center, including non-patient areas like the shoreline and walking trails, remains closed to the public. Access to the campus is limited to: VA employees, patients with scheduled clinic appointments, patients visiting the Urgent Care Clinic, residential care patients, HELP Veterans Village residents, and authorized deliveries.

Universal Masking
Everyone is required to wear a face mask while inside a VA Maryland Health Care System facility. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, patients who refuse to wear a mask will not be allowed to enter or will be asked to leave if they do not wear a mask while waiting for an appointment or traveling throughout the facility. Patients arriving for a scheduled clinic appointment or emergency or urgent care visit will be given a mask if they do not have one.

Screenings & Screen Pass
Everyone will be required to answer COVID-19-related screening questions before entering a VA Maryland Health Care System facility (including the Baltimore VA Medical Center parking garage). You can prescreen before arriving at the VA by using the Screen Pass app or we will ask you the questions when you arrive.

If you have a fever, coughing, or shortness of breath,
please call our Telephone Care Line at 800-865-2441 and press 1 before visiting.

             Screen Pass allows patients and employees to use their smartphones to answer the COVID-19 screening questions before coming to the VA.

Here is how Screen Pass works:
• Before coming to a VA Maryland Health Care System facility, text the word “Screen” to 53079 or visit www.va.gov/covid19screen on your smartphone.
• Answer the simple screening questions.
• If you pass the screening, “OK to proceed” will be displayed on your phone screen.
• When you arrive at the VA, just show your phone to the screener and you will be given access.
• If “More screening needed” is displayed, please call the Telephone Care Line at 1-800-865-2441 for guidance. 

Please note, the screening needs to be completed only once per day and your information will not be stored. For individuals who don’t have a smartphone, are not familiar with Screen Pass, or forgot to answer the screening questions using Screen Pass before arriving at the VA, screeners/staff will still be available to ask the COVID-19-related screening questions.

Centralized Check-in (at the Baltimore VA Medical Center)
The new centralized check-in and waiting area for outpatient specialty clinic appointments at the Baltimore VA Medical Center is located in the Canteen dining area on the 2nd floor.
• After checking in, all Veteran outpatients will be asked to wait in the new waiting area until their number is displayed on a large screen monitor.
• Outpatients will be able to report to the appropriate outpatient specialty care clinic after their number has been displayed.
• As an additional safety precaution, the kiosks to check-in for all clinic appointments are no longer available.
• Veterans using the Emergency Department will not need to use the centralized check-in area.
• The hours of operation for the centralized check-in area will be Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Patients with primary care clinic appointments will not be required to check-in at the centralized check in area. These patients can report directly to the primary care clinic on the 1st floor at the Baltimore VA Medical Center to check-in. 

Watch a video on Checking In: How to Use the New Check-in System at the Baltimore VA Medical Center

Checking in with VEText (at all other VA Maryland Health Care System sites except for the Baltimore VA Medical Center)
To protect our Veteran patients, we have introduced a new VEText feature that allows them to check-in for scheduled VA outpatient appointments at most VA Maryland Health Care System locations before entering the facilities. Beginning July 6, patients with scheduled appointments at the facilities and clinics listed below can use their cellphone to notify their care team that they have arrived at the VA before entering the building. 
• Cambridge VA Outpatient Clinic
• Eastern Baltimore County VA Outpatient Clinic
• Fort Meade VA Outpatient Clinic
• Glen Burnie VA Outpatient Clinic
• Loch Raven VA Medical Center Outpatient Clinic (3910 The Alameda)
• Perry Point VA Medical Center Outpatient Clinic (Building 361)
• Pocomoke VA Outpatient Clinic

Here is how VEText works:
• Use your cellphone to text the word “here” to 53079 once you have arrived in the parking lot of the VA facility where you have a scheduled appointment. This will notify your care team that you have arrived and are waiting to be called in for your clinic appointment.
• VEText will send an automatic response acknowledging your arrival and a text message informing for you to wait outside for further instructions.
• You will then receive a call from a clinic staff member who will ask you the COVID-19-related screening questions, review your insurance information, and complete any additional information as part of the check-in process. 

Please note, patients must use the cellphone number that is on file in their VA electronic health record to check-in using VEText. To verify or update your cell phone number on record, call the Veterans Health Administration Call Center Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at 877-222-8387 and press option 1.

We’re Ready to See You Now: When your VA provider is ready to see you, you will receive a text message providing the okay for you to proceed into the building. Once in the building, you will be greeted by a clinic staff member and escorted to an exam room for your appointment.

Checking In Without a Cellphone or Text Plan: If you do not have a cellphone with a text plan, please call the appropriate number listed below when you arrive in the parking lot of the VA facility where you have a scheduled appointment to notify your care team that you have arrived.
• A clinic staff member will ask you the COVID-19-related screening questions, review your insurance information, and complete any additional information as part of the check-in process. The staff member will then instruct you to wait outside until you are ready to be seen.
• When your VA provider is ready to see you, you will receive a phone call letting you know it is okay for you to proceed into the building. Once in the building, you will be greeted by a clinic staff member and escorted to an exam room for your appointment.

Facility Telephone Numbers
• Cambridge VA Outpatient Clinic – 410-901-4077
• Eastern Baltimore County VA Outpatient Clinic – 410-605-7000, ext. 51101
• Fort Meade VA Outpatient Clinic – 410-305-5304
• Glen Burnie VA Outpatient Clinic – 410-590-4153
• Loch Raven VA Medical Center Outpatient Clinic – 410-605-7000, ext. 51101
• Perry Point VA Medical Center Outpatient Clinic – 410-642-2511, ext. 26515
• Pocomoke VA Outpatient Clinic – 410-957-6930

Visitor Guidance
To protect our patients and staff from the spread of COVID-19, visitors are not authorized throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System, 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 with a scheduled, onsite 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 using COVID-related questions and will be required to wear a mask at all times while in a VA facility.  Visitors who do not pass the screening process will not be allowed to enter the facility.

Prescriptions
To limit the exposure of COVID-19, Pharmacy is continuing to offer new and renewal prescriptions through mail order only, including express and overnight delivery. The Outpatient Pharmacies at the Baltimore and Perry Point VA Medical Centers will only honor emergent prescription needs for in-person pick up. All other medications and supplies will be mailed.

Veterans have the following options to refill their prescriptions:
• 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 “1” to order prescription refills.
• Complete and sign the refill request slip you received with your prescription and use the mailing label that was included to send it in to one of our two pharmacies.
• Submit 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.

Important Telephone Numbers

Appointment Center: To schedule, change, cancel or confirm a clinic appointment, contact the Appointment Center at 410-605-7333 Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Medical Emergencies:  If you are having a medical or mental health emergency, dial 911 immediately.

Prescriptions: To request a prescription refill, check on the status of your prescription or to speak to a pharmacy staff member, call 410-605-7395.

Primary Care: If you would like to speak with a primary care team member, call 410-605-7777 Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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, press 1

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 at 800-273-8255, 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