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Ancient Gaseous Emanation
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Greg Richter
16 March 2020

The Department of Veterans Affairs is getting prepared in case it is called up for duty in one of its little-known roles: the agency of last-resort in the case of a major health emergency.

With COVID-19 cases expected to increase sharply over the coming days and weeks, the VA has been making preparations for a worst-case scenario since January, The Wall Street Journal reports.

That has included drills, briefing lawmakers and checking on medical equipment stockpiles.

Following a letter from about 12 senators to Dr. Richard Stone, who leads the VA’s health-care division, about the VA's readiness, the department sent a letter to Congress on Friday, the Journal reported.

"With the President’s declaration of a national emergency today, VA’s health care surge capabilities could be used to fill gaps in civilian health care systems, when necessary," the letter read.

Congress granted the VA power four decades ago to back up the country's medical facilities in times of national emergency or disaster, allowing the agency to treat civilians as well as veterans.

The agency has 1,243 health-care facilities at its disposal and more-than 350,000 employees, the Journal noted.

Stone told the Journal that the Department of Health and Human Services would have to ask for the VA's support to set it's involvement in motion.

The VA, however, has been the subject of problems in recent years taking care of the veterans under its own care, putting into question whether it could handle the additional stress of such a crisis.

"VA has challenges of providing for its existing population," Phillip Carter, a senior policy researcher at Rand Corp., told the Journal. "VA may be stretched even further if it’s called on as a national medical reserve."

Grand Imperial Poobah
22,278 Posts
The VA has issues in the treatment of just veterans, how are they going to deal with adding civilians to the mix????
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