VA Western New York Healthcare System
Nursing Staff Assist NJ Veterans Memorial Home
Buffalo, New York: On March 29, 2020, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie announced plans to use excess health care capacity of the Veterans Health Administration to fulfill a previous Federal agreement that supports our civilian population in the event of national emergencies. The recently resurrected “4th Mission of the VA” was the result of a 1982 Veteran Affairs and Department of Defense agreement called the “Health Resources Sharing and Emergency Operations Act.” As an extension of this resource sharing act, several VA Western New York Healthcare System (VA WNYHS) employees deployed in mid-April to cross-level their nursing expertise and assist the exhausted staff at the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home in New Jersey. Additional staff from VA Western New York Healthcare System and other systems will continue to rotate through the Veterans Home in the coming weeks.
With The Wall Street Journal reporting sixty-two COVID-19 related deaths at the Veterans Home, Nancy Schmid, RN and Associate Director of VA Patient Care Services at the Coatesville, PA, Medical Center, said the arrival of five VA WNYHS geriatric nurses as well as nursing staff from VISN 4 has been well received. Schmid said that the nursing staff “are helping to implement measures to provide containment and mitigation, including teaching classes to all facility personnel in proper use of PPE, hand sanitization, as well as assisting in universal swabbing of all the residents here. Staff were successful in implementing the measures needed to stabilize the situation.”
The courageous nurses from VA WNYHS returned on Sunday, May 3rd, and they include, Jarious Collins, Yolanda Hull, Lonnie Grooms, Collen Gray, and Jacquie Young. Mr. Michael J. Swartz, Executive Director of VA WNYHS that serves over 45,000 Veterans, said that “we are both humbled and inspired by the heroic sacrifices our staff are making to preserve the lives of our Veterans across the country, whether they are cared for in a VA or state run facility. They have fulfilled the VA’s 4th Mission and we all take great pride in that.”