Situation Update - San Francisco VA Health Care System

San Francisco VA Medical Center Update
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San Francisco VA Medical
Center Update



08/24/2020 07:06 PM EDT

Clearlake VA Clinic Update (as of 4 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 24)

The Clearlake VA Clinic will open during regular hours on Tuesday, Aug. 25. We are continuing to monitor the LNU Lightning Complex fires and assess their impacts in areas surrounding our outpatient clinics. Scheduled appointments are not impacted at this time. If you have concerns about a scheduled appointment on Aug. 25, please reach out to your health care team.

The San Francisco VA Medical Center and our outpatient clinics in Downtown San Francisco, Eureka, San Bruno, Santa Rosa and Ukiah will also be open during regular hours on Tuesday, Aug. 25. VA shuttles are operating on their regular schedules.

  • If you are an SFVAHCS patient who is impacted by fires or under evacuation orders and in need of emergency prescription refills, please call 800-847-3203.
  • For oxygen needs, please contact the vendor listed on your supplies. For Apria oxygen devices, please call 1-866-509-7732.
  • Patients with urgent symptoms can call the San Francisco VA telephone advice nurse line at 800-733-0502.
  • For medical or psychiatric emergencies, please dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

Please be safe and follow official guidance from local authorities. Text your zip code to 888777 for text updates on evacuation orders and road closures in your area. also provides up-to-date information on all Bay Area road conditions.

COVID-19 Information and Operations

Due to the recent increase of COVID-19 cases in California, the San Francisco VA Health Care System has adjusted its operations to ensure we can continue to deliver the best care to Veterans in the safest way possible. While we always strive to provide a clean environment, we are taking additional measures, such as frequent cleaning of high-touch areas like doorknobs, handrails, countertops and vinyl seating, as well as removing magazines and other paper documents from waiting areas. Rigorous cleaning will continue in inpatient areas. As a reminder, washing your hands with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) is still the best way to clean your hands. However, if that is not possible, additional hand hygiene stations are located throughout our facilities.

The following safety measures have been implemented at the San Francisco VA Medical Center until further notice:

(Click a link below to jump to a topic)

Stay home and Phone | Appointments | Surgeries
Entry to the San Francisco VA Medical Center and Clinics | Face Mask Policy
Screenings | Visitor Policy | Medical Emergencies
Shuttles To/From the SFVAMC | Veterans Crisis Line | CBOCs

Stay Home and Phone

We continue to limit the number of patients who come to our facilities for health care. We encourage Veterans to use our virtual care options (Telehealth, VA Video Connect) for specialty care, primary care and mental health services. Patients who need an in-person appointment can contact their care team.

Veterans with pressing needs that require same-day care can now request a virtual urgent care visit with a SFVAMC Emergency Department provider through Express Care. Express Care visits are available only for certain cases including, but not limited to, cough, skin rash or urinary symptoms. Express Care is not intended to treat medical emergencies. Learn more. If you are having a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.


Patients with scheduled in-person appointments should arrive no earlier than 15 minutes prior to avoid overcrowding of waiting areas. If Veterans arrive sooner, they may be asked to wait in their vehicles.

We made changes to waiting areas, check-in desks and other common spaces to encourage physical distancing. Please stay at least six feet away from others at all times. Additional space between seating, plexiglass panels, limited elevator capacity, visual markings on floors are just a few of the changes you will notice at our facilities. Additional hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed around the medical center and clinics.


Elective surgeries and procedures have been postponed. All pre-procedural (aerosol-generating and high-risk, due to close/prolonged contact with oral/nasal airway), newly admitted, transferred and symptomatic patients will undergo COVID-19 testing.

Entry to the San Francisco VA Medical Center and Clinics

Only patients with in-person appointments or emergency needs will be allowed into the medical center or community-based outpatient clinics.

All entering SFVAHCS facilities must follow the required precautions below:

  • Wear a face covering or mask. See Face Mask policy below.
  • Participate in checkpoint health screening.
  • Maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
  • Perform hand hygiene as directed.
  • Follow directions of VA employees.
  • Keep visits as short as possible.

Visitors who drive patients to appointments will not be permitted to accompany Veterans inside VA facilities unless medically required.

All patients and visitors to SFVAMC must enter through Building 200. Click here for a campus map.

Patients requesting to visit Member Services, Cashier/Billing, or the Travel Office at the SFVAMC will not be allowed in the facility and will be provided with a Member Services handout with instructions.

Valet parking services have been suspended at the San Francisco VA Medical Center until further notice. Self-parking is available. See “Visitor Policy” below for information on entry for outpatient caregivers and inpatient visitors.

Face Mask Policy

  • Everyone is required to wear a face mask or covering in our facilities.
  • Patients and their caregivers are permitted to wear clean homemade or cloth masks if they fully cover the lower part of the face (nose to chin). If they do not have a mask upon entry, we will provide one.
  • Inpatients:
    • will be provided with a surgical mask to be worn during all clinical encounters
    • are encouraged to wear their surgical masks at all times when other people are present
    • must wear surgical masks when leaving their rooms.


To ensure everyone's safety, all requesting to enter the Medical Center or our community-based outpatient clinics will answer health screening questions before entry.

Visitor Policy

To protect our patients and staff, the following visitor policy is in effect at the Medical Center and at our community-based outpatient clinics.

  • No visitors are allowed in most cases. Please see Visitor Policy Exceptions below. 
  • Veterans without scheduled appointments requesting to visit the Canteen or Retail Store will not be allowed entry.

San Francisco VA Medical Center Visitor Policy Exceptions

We understand there are times when having a visitor or family member present is necessary. For this reason, below are exceptions to our visitor policy.

Inpatient visitors are allowed for:

  • Patients in acute care or Community Living Center hospice. Two identified visitors per visit. Only one visitor allowed at a time in patient room.
  • Seriously ill patients (non-COVID-19 or PUI patients) who are expected to die within a short period of time (i.e., within 48 hours as determined by their medical provider).

Outpatient visitors are allowed for:

  • Patients requiring a family member/caregiver to receive discharge or post-op instructions, which cannot be given via telephone. One family member/caregiver allowed during the discharge process. Visitors must be on the daily list of allowed visitors.
  • Patients with physical and/or cognitive conditions, disruptive behavior, altered mental status, developmental delays (where the caregiver provides safety), or where a family member is key to their stabilization. One visitor per patient.

Visitors must not:

  • have symptoms of illness (fever, runny nose, cough, or shortness of breath).
  • be under the age of 18.

Medical Emergencies

If you are experiencing a medical or mental health emergency, dial 911 immediately. The Emergency Department at the San Francisco VA Medical Center is open 24/7. If you are able, please call 800-733-0502 before visiting the Emergency Department.


Patients with non-urgent prescription needs should reorder medications online, by phone or by mail. Please allow five to seven business days for delivery. The outpatient pharmacy at the Medical Center remains open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for urgent medication needs.

To refill prescriptions:

  1. Call 1-800-847-3203.
  2. Order online using My HealtheVet at
  3. Mail your prescription refill request forms to:

    SFVAHCS - Pharmacy 119
    4150 Clement St.
    San Francisco, CA 94121.


Patients picking up medications only:

  1. Can call pharmacy first to activate their medications
  2. Will be provided instructions/slip on how to call Pharmacy (415-750-6937)
  3. Can wait in their vehicles until medications are ready.

Shuttles to/from the SFVAMC

Shuttle riders will be screened prior to boarding. Patients must show proof – text, email, postcard - of an appointment. Physical shields, such as sneeze guards which separate the driver from passengers, have been installed in our shuttles. Seating has been staggered to ensure physical distancing.

Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC)

The following safety measures have been implemented at our six community-based outpatient clinics in Downtown San Francisco, San Bruno, Eureka, Santa Rosa, Ukiah and Clearlake until further notice:

  • Walk-in services are limited at this time, and appointments are required for non-urgent needs.
  • Face-to-face visits are being limited, and patients will be seen based on urgency.
  • Virtual care options will be used whenever possible and appropriate.
  • Universal masking policy for everyone at all times within the facility.
  • Mandatory screening and hand sanitizing for everyone entering clinics.
  • Staggered appointment schedules are being implemented to ensure limited congestion in waiting areas.
  • Patients should not arrive more than 30 minutes prior to their appointments to avoid overcrowding in the waiting areas. Patients may be asked to wait in their cars should they arrive earlier.
  • COVID-19 testing is available by appointment only – no walk-ins - to patients scheduled for a surgery or procedure.
  • Appointments for Laboratory services are required at the following clinics:
    • Santa Rosa. 707-569-2300
    • Ukiah. 707-468-7700
    • Clearlake. 707-995-7200

Veterans Crisis Line

If you are a Veteran in crisis, there are specially trained responders ready to help you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year by calling 800-273-8255 and Press 1.

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For up-to-date information about the San Francisco VA, please check this page, the San Francisco VA Facebook page or San Francisco VA Twitter page.

To learn about preparedness kits, family emergency plans and more, please visit