Current Operating Status - VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System
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VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System

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Current Operating Status

Situation Update

As of Thursday, June 11, 2020 12:41 PM CDT

COVID-19 Update (June 11, 2020)
If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath, call us at 402-346-8800 (select option 3) before visiting us. For other concerns, you may be able to access VA care from home by phone or using VA virtual care options. 

Facility Changes

During the last few months, it has been extremely difficult for everyone in the world. Here at the VA Nebraska Western Iowa Health Care System, we've had to make several changes to the way we deliver care to our patients and our process to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although these changes were made to ensure the highest level of safety for our Veterans, their famililies and our employees, we also understand that not all of them have been easy. Therefore, we want to thank each of our Veterans for your understanding and support during these challenging times.
B. Don Burman, Director and Chief Executive Officer of NWI, presents to us the changes we are facing as we move forward together. See HERE

Audiology Policy Changes
Due to strict CDC guidance and social distancing practices in place at the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System facilities, our Audiology clinics has had to make temporary changes in their policy. All Audiology walk in services including hearing tests, repairs and hearing aid adjustments, are no longer supported on a walk-in basis. Please call 402-995-3119 to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions or concerns. All appointments are taken at a first-come first- serve basis. Veterans are encouraged to mail in their hearing aids that need repaired to:

Omaha VA
Attn: Audiology Clinic Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System 4101 Woolworth Ave. Omaha, Nebraska 68105

Lincoln VA Clinic
Att: Audiology clinic: Lincoln VA Clinic 600 S. 70th street Lincoln, NE 68510

Grand Island VA
Att: Audiology clinic:Grand Island VA Hospital 2201 North Broadwell Avenue Grand Island, NE 68803-2196

Dental Clinic Closed for Walk-In Visits
We would like to remind our patients that receive dental care at the Omaha VA Hospital, that we are committed to keeping you and our staff safe during the coronavirus outbreak. To do this, we have had to take measures following strict CDC guidance, practicing social distancing and implementing new policies at all our facilities. This includes temporarily restricting walk-in appointments for all dental services. If you believe you are in need of urgent/emergent dental care, please call the dental clinic at (402) 995-3306 for assistance and you will be told when and what time to go to the dental clinic. 


COVID-19 Update (May 26, 2020)
If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath, call us at 402-346-8800 (select option 3) before visiting us. For other concerns, you may be able to access VA care from home by phone or using VA virtual care options. 

-VA NWIHCS Director delivers message to Veterans in need of urgent care see HERE

Medical Emergency? We're here for you. Here's some important links and numbers to help:

 Our NWI Call Center-1-800-451-5796 for any question you may have.

Call 9-1-1 in case of an Emergency.


-VA NWIHCS Director discusses the direction and steps being taken going forward at all NWI facilities see HERE


COVID-19 Update (April 23, 2020)
If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath, call us at 402-346-8800 (select option 3) before visiting us. For other concerns, you may be able to access VA care from home by phone or using VA virtual care options.

Veterans Virtual Town Hall Meeting-topic: COVID-19 Updates
See HERE

COVID-19 Coach, 
A mobile application for Veterans, Servicemembers, and anyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Features:

  • Education to help you improve your well-being during this global pandemic
  • Tools for coping and self-care
  • Trackers for mental health and personal goals
  • Resources for additional support

Developed by the Mobile Mental Health Apps Team at the VA’s National Center for PTSD.
Contact our team with feedback to help us improve this app:

MobileMentalHealth@va.gov Learn more at the National Center for PTSD website


COVID-19 Resource links

VA COVID-19 Website HERE

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Website
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html


TIPS for Mental Well-Being

  • Maintain a routine. Regardless of what is happening in your life ideally you will schedule your day much like you would if you were going to work.  This means waking up at the same time each morning, completing a morning routine, and engaging in something achievement focused until midafternoon.  In mid-afternoon structure pleasant events (game night, virtual chat with friends, spending time with pets, engaging in arts/crafts) and return to bed at the same time each night.
  • Limit alcohol use and use of other substances
  • Mental Health and Physical Health are connected; limit exposure to stress and your physical health will have a positive response. Continue to exercise and consume a balanced diet and this will positively impact your mental health.
  • There are several ways to access mental health at the VA. The easiest is to contact your primary care provider and ask for a referral to our mental health team.  Based on their judgement they will help Route you to the appropriate specialty clinic
  • Be aware that the veteran’s crisis line is available 24/7 for emergency mental health needs. That number is 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
  • Number for our VA (800) 451-5796


Whole Health Resource Flyer HERE

Lincoln Regional Office offering Virtual Claims Clinic
VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System will be offering a Virtual Claims clinic from the Lincoln regional office. The clinic will be for discharging service members, Veterans, Veteran families and survivors. Participants will be offered to speak with VA employees to get information about VA benefits and receive assistance completing VA compensation and pension applications.

Interviews will be conducted over the phone Monday through Friday from April 27 - May 1 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Do you have interest in participating? Here's what you need to do and what to expect:
1. Call 402-420-4069
2. Leave your name, phone number, date and time frame you are available for the claims clinic.
3. Someone will call you back to set up our appointment for the claims clinic.
4. You will be called at the appointment date/time to get assistance as part of the virtual claims clinic.

As a reminder during the COVID-19 pandemic, we highly suggest to use our convenient pharmacy call center for refills, renewals or any questions you may have. Save gas, time and wait time and call 1-855-560-1722 (follow the prompts) for all your medication needs.


COVID-19 Update, (April 17, 2020)
If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath, call us at 402-346-8800 (select option 3) before visiting us. For other concerns, you may be able to access VA care from home by phone or using VA virtual care options.

Directors Message

B. Don Burman, MHA, Director and Chief Executive Officer of VANWIHCS, provides a few comments updating Veterans on the latest facility and policy changes HERE

Virtual Veterans Town Hall
Please join us April 22nd for our Virtual Veterans Town Hall conducted over Facebook Live. Tune in at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon as we provide updates on our current planning and response to the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Submit questions HERE

Pharmacy Procedures Explained

We took a moment to speak to Tracie Balvanz, Chief of Pharmacy here at the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, to explain how it all works. SEE HERE

Message from the Whole Health Team HERE

Patient Advocates office
is open for phone call consults only, if you have a question or concern any time from 7:30 a.m. till 4 p.m. at any of our locations.

Grand Island 308-389-5132
Omaha 402-995-3218 or 402-995-3477
Lincoln 402-995-3218


COVID-19 Update, (April 1, 2020)
If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath, call us at 402-346-8800 (select option 3) before visiting us. For other concerns, you may be able to access VA care from home by phone or using VA virtual care options.

Doctor Marvin J. Bittner, MD, MSc, FACP, FIDSA, Deputy Chief of Staff for the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, takes a moment to speak about the facts and myths surrounding surgical masks.
The NWI Executive team held a Virtual Veterans Town Hall last night at the Omaha VA Hospital, answering key questions via Facebook Live. If you missed it, you can check it out here https://www.facebook.com/NebraskaIowaVA/videos/221596769163988/ Thanks to all who joined us last night, we hope we were able to answer any questions you may have as we battle together to keep our Veterans safe at our facilities.

Omaha VA Hospital Veteran Canteen Services new hours are now:
Retail - Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.- 12 p.m.
Retail - Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Food - Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Coffee - Saturday Closed
Coffee - Monday - Friday 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.


COVID-19 Update, (March 30, 2020)
Numerous changes begin at our Omaha VAMC facility (see map HERE) including outdoor screening, a drive-thru pharmacy service, a change to our outpatient lab draw. 

Here is a list of what will be changing on our Omaha VA Hospital Campus:

Omaha VAMC Entry/Exit Control Points: Veterans suspected of COVID-19 through the screening process, will enter via the Emergency Department entry while Veterans receiving non-COVID-19 related treatment will enter near the Outpatient Lab and exit near the Anticoagulation Clinic. Look for new signs to be deployed next week.
Outpatient Lab Draws Moving To Building 8: Outpatient lab draws will move to Building 8 off Center Street. (Look for signs)

Traffic Screening: The Omaha VAMC will establish a traffic screening station on Tuesday, March 31, outside of Building 4 on the Omaha VAMC campus. The station will direct COVID-19 and Non-COVID-19 Veterans to the appropriate entry control points.

Drive Thru Pharmacy: The Omaha VAMC will begin drive-thru pharmacy services in the circle area in front of the hospital.


VA NWIHCS leaders will conduct a virtual Veterans Town Hall on Facebook live tomorrow, March 31, from 5-6 p.m https://www.facebook.com/NebraskaIowaVA

B. Don Burman, MHA, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, takes a moment to speak to our Veterans concerning the current changes and challenges at our NWI facilities. See HERE


COVID-19 Update, (March 25, 2020)

Visitor Restrictions effective immediately

The VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System has increased our precautionary measures. Effective immediately, visitors of any age will no longer be permitted at any of our facilities, including all of our CBOCs facilities under NWI. Exceptions will be made for compassionate care and Veterans requiring a support person/attendant during outpatient visits. These restrictions apply to all visitors, including inpatient and those presenting for outpatient appointments. Traffic flow pattern changes and pre-screening before entering our facilities remain in place

Please note that the Grand Island VA Medical Center will begin vehicle COVID-19 verbal screening today, March 25. Veterans will still be able to enter the Medical Center from North Broadwell Avenue. Employees – including providers – will enter the Employee Lot via North Wheeler Avenue.

As a reminder, Veterans with medication needs should utilize the Pharmacy Call Center and refrain from reporting directly to the medical center. Call 1-855-560-1722 then follow the prompts for refills, renewals, questions or concerns you may have. Thank you for your cooperation as we continue to do are part to create a safe and healthy environment for our Veterans.

Here are the questions you should expect:

1. Do you currently have any of the following symptoms:
fever, new or worsening cough or shortness of breath,
or flu-like symptoms?

2. Have you been contacted by the Public Health Department
within the last two weeks stating that you have been
potentially exposed to the Coronavirus?

3. Have you been in close contact with someone, including a
healthcare worker, confirmed to have the Coronavirus?

Screenings could cause possible delays, so please allow for enough time to make it to your appointments.





COVID-19 Update, (March 18, 2020)

 The VA Nebraska Western Iowa Health Care System (VA NWIHCS) are closely monitoring the current COVID-19 outbreak in our communities and is taking pro-active measures to ensure the safety of our Veterans, families and VA staff members.

 

Visitor Restrictions:

We are limiting visitors to our medical care facilities. Effective immediately, only visitors without symptoms will be permitted to enter VA medical facilities. No visitors under the age of 18 are permitted, including infants. Visitors are also not allowed to wait in facility common areas including canteen area, waiting rooms, or vending areas. Visitors returning from international travel must have been in the United States, symptom-free, for 14 days. Finally, access will be determined on a case-by-case basis where the visitor is critical to the care of the Veteran.

 

The following services have been curtailed at VA NWIHCS facilities:

Audiology – closed to walk-ins

Ophthalmology – Emergencies only – call ahead

Dental clinics (all campuses)  - Emergencies only – call ahead

Surgery clinics – routine/elective referrals cancelled – emergency referrals only

All clinics are pre-screening appointments to maximize tele-care.

 

Veterans Urged To Call Ahead

Please call ahead to our VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System Medical Center or Community-Based Outpatient Clinic before going to a clinic, urgent care or emergency room, especially if you have symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Calling first helps us protect you, medical staff and other patients. Ask your VA health care team about the option of care by phone or video instead of an in-patient visit.

 

COVID-19 Testing Limited

At this time, testing for the COVID virus is still very limited in the NWIHCS service area.  Most patients with flu-like illness will not qualify for testing – it is only available for the most severe cases at this time.  Patients concerned about possible COVID exposure can call their primary care provider to discuss their symptoms.  We have also opened a special online clinic to evaluate patients for COVID by video or phone.  Patients concerned about COVID exposure should limit activities and interaction with other people for 14 days.  If no symptoms develop during that time, they did not contract the virus. For veterans with symptoms, we can do testing for influenza and other respiratory viruses – as we have had many cases positive for those viruses in recent weeks.

 

Keep Up To Date

You can also more about the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID 19) pandemic here: https://www.va.gov/coronavirus/



COVID-19 Update (March 10, 2020)


To protect our Veterans and Staff at The VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, each facility will be screening questions to all visitors for COVID-19 upon arrival, here are the questions:

1. Do you currently have any of the following symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough or shortness of breath, or flu-like symptoms?
2. Have you been contacted by the Public Health Department within the last two weeks stating that you have been potentially exposed to the Coronavirus?
3. Have you been in close contact with someone, including a healthcare worker, confirmed to have the Coronavirus?

Screenings could cause possible delays, so please allow for enough time to make it to your appointments. Thanks for your understanding as we continue to implement measures to ensure the safety of all who enter our facilities.

COVID-19 Update (March 8, 2020)

With the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Nebraska, VA Nebraska Western Iowa Health Care System (VA NWIHCS) is continuing to actively plan, prepare and take action to control and prevent the spread of the illness. As always, the VA NWIHCS’ top priority is the health and safety of our Veterans, families, staff and community at large. We are implementing several changes as part of that commitment to safety. While we know that some of the changes may cause instances of inconvenience to our Veterans and families, safety – as always – is our number one goal.

Have an outpatient or primary care appointment in the next 2 weeks?

As a precaution to protect the community, VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System Medical Centers and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

If you or your Veteran has appointment scheduled within the next 14 days at any one of our facilities,

AND You or your Veteran has traveled outside of the United States in the last 30 days or have been in contact with anyone who has traveled outside of the United States

AND You or your Veterans have signs of illness, please contact your VA medical provider to complete a travel and wellness screening over the phone prior to coming in for your scheduled appointment. The short screening involved a few questions and will take just a few minutes to complete. You will be asked about your history of travel and if anyone in your household has fever, cough or shortness of breath.

VA NWIHCS is recommending that any Veteran who has a previously scheduled appointment to call ahead first. In some cases, appointments may either be conducted over the phone or utilizing the VA’s “Telehealth” technology, or may be rescheduled.

Updated Visitor Protocol at VA NWIHCS Locations

All individuals entering a VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System Medical Center, Community-Based Outpatient Clinic or other facilities, will be screened for travel and wellness upon arrival. Further, entry into the Omaha, Grand Island and Lincoln will be restricted (please follow posted directions) Additionally, visitors will be limited within the facility beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, March 9, 2020.

Hospital Visitor Restrictions 

To protect the health of Veterans, families and staff, effective March 9th 2020, the following will be implemented to the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System facilities in response to the increase of viral illnesses in our community.

 Within the Omaha and Grand Island VA Medical Centers – to include Grand Island’s Community Living Center:

-One caregiver per patient
-Children will only be allowed if there are no other alternatives for their care and they are asymtpomatic.
-Children must remain in patient room.

 Additionally, the Grand Island Community Living Center will implement Coronavirus screening for all visitors. Please stop at the front desk to answer questions about your health and do not proceed till you have been signed in and received a Visitor Sticker.

The VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System team continues to proactively plan, prepare and respond to this emerging public health threat, with COVID-19 screening areas at its Nebraska and Western Iowa campuses as well as all of its community based outpatients clinics across our network. Veterans and staff are encouraged to take every day preventative actions to avoid being exposed to the virus:  

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you are sick or becoming sick.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • If you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms, call the VA before going to the facility.

For more information about the Coronavirus, please visit: https://www.va.gov/coronavirus/

 

If you need to reach the Pharmacy Call Center for refills, renewals or questions
contact 1-855-560-1722 ext. 2

If you have any questions about your appointment or want to reschedule call 1-800-451-5796.

You can also get updates on social media: https://www.facebook.com/NebraskaIowaVA/, http://twitter.com/VANWIHCS and https://www.instagram.com/nebraskaiowava/ . If you would like to receive automated updates via email, please sign up with your email address on our website - https://www.nebraska.va.gov/index.asp  - look under the social media icons on right for "Subscribe to Receive Email Updates."

Facility Status

Parent Facility
VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System Limited Services
Numerous changes and restrictions at all VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System facilities due to COVID-19 pandemic. See situation updates for the latest changes.
Community Based Outpatient Clinics
Bellevue, Nebraska Limited Services
Numerous changes and restrictions at all VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System facilities due to COVID-19 pandemic. See situation updates for the latest changes.
Community Resource & Referral Center Normal Hours
Grand Island, Nebraska Limited Services
Numerous changes and restrictions at all VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System facilities due to COVID-19 pandemic. See situation updates for the latest changes.
Holdrege, Nebraska Limited Services
Numerous changes and restrictions at all VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System facilities due to COVID-19 pandemic. See situation updates for the latest changes.
Lincoln, Nebraska Limited Services
Numerous changes and restrictions at all VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System facilities due to COVID-19 pandemic. See situation updates for the latest changes.
Norfolk, Nebraska Limited Services
Numerous changes and restrictions at all VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System facilities due to COVID-19 pandemic. See situation updates for the latest changes.
North Platte, Nebraska Limited Services
Numerous changes and restrictions at all VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System facilities due to COVID-19 pandemic. See situation updates for the latest changes.
Shenandoah, Iowa Limited Services
Numerous changes and restrictions at all VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System facilities due to COVID-19 pandemic. See situation updates for the latest changes.

Telephone Numbers

  • Emergency: 911
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)
  • 24 Hour Nurse: Monday-Friday (Daytime)
    Call your primary care clinic nurse
    Evenings (after 4 pm), weekends and holidays
    1-800-451-5796
  • Change Your Appointment: Omaha
    402-346-8800 or
    1-800-451-5796, press 2
    See below for CBOC appointment numbers
  • Media Inquiries: 402-995-4719
  • National Veterans Helpline: 1-800-507-4571
  • Patient Locator: 402-346-8800 or
    1-800-451-5796
  • Pharmacy Refill: 1-855-560-1722
  • Staff Locator: 402-346-8800 or
    1-800-451-5796
  • Telephone Care: Monday-Friday (Daytime)
    Call your primary care clinic nurse
    Evenings (after 4 pm), weekends and holidays
    1-866-687-7382
  • Change Your Appointment (Nebraska CBOCs): Bellevue
    402-591-4500
    Grand Island
    308-382-3660 or
    1-866-580-1810, press 2
    Holdrege
    308-995-3760
    Lincoln
    402-489-3802 or
    1-866-851-6052, press 2
    Norfolk
    402-370-4570
    North Platte
    1-866-580-1810, press 0
  • Change Your Appointment (Iowa CBOCs): Shenandoah
    712-246-0092