Well here goes, a lot of things are being done to protect the most vulnerable group of our veterans while still providing necessary care and services. So what is going on?

Firstly with our health care, the VA has implemented an aggressive public health response to protect and care for veterans. They are working directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor the outbreak of the virus. When seeking health care, any veteran with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath should immediately call their VA or community care facility (Weems Clinics) before visiting.

When reporting for routine appointments, all patients will be screened for flu-like symptoms before they enter in order to protect other patients and staff. The VA is asking for all ill veterans to call before arriving at clinic for everyone’s safety.

The VA is taking a lot of steps to protect the VA nursing homes and Spinal Cord Injury and Disorder Centers (SCI/Ds) patients, a very susceptible group. To minimize the risk of exposure, effective March 10 and until further notice, all VA nursing homes and SCI/Ds will adopt a “No Visitor” stance, the only exceptions will be in compassionate cases, when veterans are in their last stages of life on hospice units.

VA nursing home staff will be actively screened daily for patient safety. The compensation process is still proceeding along; the medical appointments are being carefully controlled or eliminated wherever possible, with veterans being able to cancel for reschedule for safety. The paperwork is still rolling along, remote work has been a big part of VA modernization in the last couple years so claims will process, never as fast as we would like though.

I will be in the office my regular schedules. Call if you have questions; we can solve a lot of issues with just a phone call. Be safe and make good choices. As always, at your service.

Charles B. Elliott is the veteran service officer for Franklin County. He can be reached at 653-8096, by cellphone at 653-7051, or by email to Veteranservice@franklincountyflorida.com