Department of Veterans Affairs Fights COVID-19

May 7, 2020, 6:30 p.m. ·


The Department of Veterans affairs, which operates hospitals and nursing facilities across the country, is responding to COVID-19 based on regional needs.

Robert Wilkie is Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He said the VA is working to improve telehealth access, especially for mental health. He said in a normal month the VA provides around 40,000 teleheath mental health appointments, but in March they provided over 150,000

The VA is also providing testing, including to all nursing home staff and patients.

The VA has suspended all elective surgeries. Wilkie said the Midwest could be one of the first areas where that ban is lifted.

“In Omaha we have six patients in our intensive care unit and five patients in our regular medical beds," Wilkie said. "So that’s 11 patients with the virus in Omaha and there’s really no other impact on the Great Plains other than that particular facility.”

The VA also helps provide military funerals. They are working with the families of veterans who die during the COVID-19 pandemic to plan military memorials when it is safe to hold larger gatherings.