The United States Veterans Department of Affairs (VA) announced it will open 50 beds to non-Veteran patients. This is an effort to ease the burden on local hospitals in New York City’s response to the coronavirus.
VA is opening a total of 50 beds to non-Veteran, non-COVID-19 patients it was announced on Sunday, March 29.
There will be 35 acute care beds and 15 intensive care unit beds.
U.S. Rep Max Rose applauded the decision.
“We’re at war with the coronavirus and we need all the help and resources we can get,” said Rose in a statement.
He added, “We drastically need to increase capacity at our hospitals, and utilizing VA facilities in that effort makes sense and is the right thing to do.”
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie also chimed in.
“VA is proud to assist the City of New York while continuing its primary mission of caring for our Nation’s Veterans,” he added in a statement.
The VA acted in response to a request the department received from FEMA after the state of New York asked them for federal assistance.
“I applaud the leadership of the President, Governor, VA, FEMA, and our local hospitals for hearing my calls and taking this action—it will help save lives,” Rose added.
VA’s decision follows calls by Rose to utilize VA facilities in the effort to increase hospital capacity. Earlier this month, Rose proposed opening VA hospitals and facilities up to the general public on an emergency basis.
The transfer of five non-COVID-19 patients from community hospitals is underway. They will go to VA New York Harbor Healthcare System’s Manhattan and Brooklyn campuses. Both campuses continue to receive Veteran patients.