Work Status for Employees - Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island
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Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island

 

Work Status for Employees

Situation Update

As of Friday, March 27, 2020 6:34 PM EDT

Director statement regarding reporting for duty:
Please help us limit the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. We are implementing some new procedures starting Saturday, March 28, which have been added below…

Arrival Information
We are directing everyone to the tent at the medical center’s main / ambulatory care entrance for screening. Clinics and administrative offices in other buildings and locations, such as Eagle Square, will be closed except for medically necessary urgent or emergent care – or direct support of that care. VA community clinics (CBOCs) are closed to in-person visits and will provide virtual care only.
  • Both Regent Ave. gates are closed. Please enter the main campus from Chalkstone Ave. or Valley St.
  • RIPTA buses are no longer coming onto the Providence VAMC campus. Buses now stop at Chalkstone Ave. and Navy Lane, across from Roger Williams.
  • Employees who are sent home or who are directed for additional evaluation must notify their supervisor.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, please stay home, notify your supervisor and contact your primary health care provider for guidance.
General Operations Information
In accordance with state and federal guidance, we are only accepting emergency and urgent care in-person patient visits at this time. Veterans are encouraged to use virtual care options, such as VA Video Connect, for other kinds of appointments.

The following critical care clinics and services will remain open, though the specific services offered may change somewhat: 
  • Emergency Department
  • Pharmacy
  • Opioid Treatment Program
  • Dialysis
  • Oncology
  • Primary Care
FMS buildings on the main Providence VAMC campus remain open to support operations.
Providence VA shuttle services to the VA Hyannis Clinic, VA Boston and Eagle Square are suspended for the time being.
Clinical staff should provide care virtually -- such as using VA Video Connect (VVC) -- or by telephone whenever possible. Employee meetings should be held via Skype or VANTS.
To reduce the risk of a critical shortage, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be prioritized as follows:
  • Clinical: Those providing direct patient care in the ED, ICU, 4A, 4B, 5B, 6B and 6S
  • Nonclinical: Will be signed out during screening on an as-needed basis, based on screening criteria
  • We are now making our own masks on-site, so more should be available soon.
Preparations for possible future operations are ongoing, including:
  • Ward 6S, the former ICU, is up and running with 6 beds in negative-pressure rooms
  • 6A is being renovated to accommodate 19 in-patient beds
  • A 10-chair urgent respiratory treatment area is being added to the screening tent, which should be ready within 5 to 10 days.
  • Preparations are being made for drive-through testing, if needed.
Services provided by volunteers are suspended until further notice, including the DAV van drivers and the tax preparation program.
Employee food service options are limited:
  • All take-out food delivery to the Providence VA Medical Center is suspended until further notice. Food delivery people will not be allowed access to the medical center, but you can meet them outside.
  • The Canteen remains open during their regular hours, but there is no seating – grab & go only. In addition to grab & go service during regular business hours, the Canteen is now also offering bread, eggs, deli meat and other staples for staff convenience. Staff can pre-order family-size meals, such as lasagna, to bring home to their families with at least 48 hours advance notice, as well. More information is on the home page at https://vaww.visn1.portal.va.gov/intranet/providence/news/Pages/Need-Groceries-without-stopping-at-the-large-markets.aspx 
  • The Canteen Store is open as normal. The Coffee Shop, Barbershop and Library are closed.
Administrative Guidance
Please note that during a national emergency, federal employees are subject to recall, and may experience a shift in their normal duties and/or schedule. Please make sure that:
  • Your leadership has current contact information for you.
  • You always keep your PIV card with you along with the Network Director’s letter designating VA healthcare employees as essential personnel.
If you do not have a copy of the essential employee letter, please ask your supervisor. If you need a PIV card, they are now being provided by appointment only. Contact your service’s sponsor to arrange an appointment. Waivers of up to 120 days may be available on a case-by-case basis.
Staff are asked to telework whenever possible. Note that those who are teleworking may need to rotate back in as the situation develops – we will provide as much notice as possible when this is the case.
The Patient Call Center line, ext. 3336, is for patient use only. Employees trying to reach another employee by phone should call the applicable service or clinic directly. A list of phone numbers can be found at https://www.providence.va.gov/contact/phone_directory.asp
Visitor / Guest Restrictions
To safeguard everyone, the following visitation and guest safeguards are in place:
  • Inpatients will not be allowed visitors, except under rare and extenuating circumstances.
  • Only one person may accompany a Veteran to an outpatient appointment or Emergency Department visit.
  • No one under the age of 18, unless a caregiver, will be able to attend a patient appointment.
Other Services
As we deal with changes to our personal and professional lives due to the new coronavirus, COVID-19, we may all experience a wide range of thoughts, feelings and reactions. Employee resources for support and counseling include:
  • The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling 24/7 and is confidential, call 800-985-5990, text “TalkWithUs” to 66746, or visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distresshelpline
  • The Providence VAMC Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, offers free and confidential short-term counseling, referrals and follow-up services. For an appointment, please contact Marie L. Sullivan, LICSW, BCD, CCM, Polytrauma/TBI & SCI/ALS Program Coordinator, 401-273-7100, ext. 3425 or Marie.Sullivan2@va.gov
  • The Providence VAMC Chaplain Service provides spiritual support and counseling for Veterans and staff, and are available at 401-273-7100, ext. 3000, or email Chaplain Rotunda East at Rotunda.East@va.gov
The VA Providence Regional Benefits Office has closed all office locations to the public. To learn more about VA benefits or file a claim, Veterans, claimants, beneficiaries and representatives may:
  • Call 800-827-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Visit www.va.gov
For details and up-to-date information as our response to COVID-19 continues, you can always visit the employee situation page of the website, https://www.providence.va.gov/emergency/employee_emergency.asp, intranet home page, https://vaww.visn1.portal.va.gov/intranet/providence/Pages/default.aspx, or the COVID-19 SharePoint page, https://dvagov.sharepoint.com/sites/VHAPROCHIO/COVID
Thank you for all your hard work, patience and commitment to our Veterans during this response. The VA Providence Healthcare System is here to serve both our Veterans and employees during this national emergency. Together we will overcome.

During a VA-declared emergency:

VA Employees should return to this page for updates. For more information about this emergency, go to our main Emergency Information page.