Situation Update - VA Puget Sound Health Care System

VA Puget Sound Health Care System Update
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VA Puget Sound Health Care
System Update



08/27/2021 02:25 PM EDT


COVID-19 Update - August 27, 2021

COVID-19 vaccinations are available by appointment to Veterans, spouses, and caregivers at our main campuses: Seattle (Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m. and Fridays 8 to 10 a.m.) and American Lake (Mondays and Fridays from 8 to 10 a.m.). VA Puget Sound is not offering walk-in vaccine appointments. Individuals should call 206-716-5716 to schedule a vaccine. If you don't receive care at VA, sign up here ( prior to calling to schedule an appointment.

For individuals with moderately to severely compromised immune systems, getting a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after getting the second dose was recently approved by the CDC. VA Puget Sound is working on our local plans for implementation of third dose vaccines and will reach out directly to those Veterans who meet the criteria. The facility is not currently offering scheduled or walk-in services for third dose vaccines. We are encouraging individuals who have compromised immune systems to contact their community pharmacies. The first place you can get the third dose is  the best option! Veterans can access the Washington State’s COVID Vaccine Finder ( or VA Pharmacy finder ( to contact their local pharmacy to find out if they carry the same vaccine as initially received. There is currently no recommendation for a third dose for people who received the Janssen vaccine.  For additional and updated information, please call the Vaccine Hotline at 1-800-329-8387, extension 64040.

More info about the third dose is available at

While at VA you will need to wear a face mask, and physical distancing measures will be in place.  

Your mental and physical health is our #1 priority! And the pandemic should not prevent you from getting the primary and specialty care you need. If you don’t feel well, are overdue for important annual screenings, diagnostic tests, or ongoing specialty care, we are here to support you. While we continue to maximize virtual care options, in some cases, you and your doctor may decide it is in your best interest to come for an in-person visit at one of our care facilities across Western Washington. And trust that we continue to follow all CDC guidelines on masking (still required when inside any of our buildings), physical distancing (please stay at least six feet apart during visits) and environmental cleaning.

We understand and appreciate the continued need to remain vigilant as our number one priority is to keep our patients—and those who care for you—safe and healthy.

If you have questions about your care, we encourage you to contact your Patient Aligned Care Team to discuss your care needs.

Virtual care options have been a valuable link to our Veterans during this challenging time, providing increased access to care regardless of where you live. Here are some examples of ways you can access care from home:

  • Telephone or Video Appointments: Receive care at home—either over the phone or via video using VA Video Connect on your computers, smartphones or tablets. To set up virtual appointments, send your health care team a secure message on My HealtheVet by visiting Veterans may also call us at 1-800-329-8387.
  • Prescription Refills: Veterans can request prescription refills, order and ship medications home using MyHealtheVet or Rx Refill mobile app. Download the app at Refill offers a mobile friendly version of the MyHealtheVet (MHV) Rx Refill service that users can download from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Refilling prescriptions just got easier for Veterans thanks to the Rx Refill mobile application’s new barcode scanning feature. While using the Rx Refill mobile app, Veterans can easily manage their refillable VA prescriptions by simply scanning a square barcode. Veterans can:
      • Request refills of their VA-issued prescriptions
      • Track VA prescription deliveries
      • View VA prescription history and access additional medication information on My HealtheVet.

                      Check out the YouTube video: Rx Refill App - YouTube

    • Secure Messaging: With a free My HealtheVet Premium account, Veterans can send secure messages to their health care team online to ask non-urgent health questions, request referrals and send updates about medical conditions. Other tools and services available to Veterans with the Premium account include, ability to access health records, view military service information and ability to join video visits using the VA Appointments tools. There are two ways to register, online or in-person at a VA facility. With the threat of COVID-19, the in-person option has been suspended.

    To upgrade online using a VA HealtheVet sign-in partner (DS Logon and, follow these steps: From the My HealtheVet sign in page, sign in to your Advanced My HealtheVet account using a sign-in partner. Select the Upgrade Now button. Check the certification box to verify account owner. Select Continue. Check the Accept My HealtheVet Terms & Conditions box. Select Continue to complete the upgrade.



    American Lake transitioned to a decentralized COVID-19 screening process to more closely match that of our community partners. The main parking lot entrance across from building 81 re-opened, and the bus resumed service at all stops on campus.

    All patients and visitors will be screened when entering patient care areas only, including Veteran Canteen Service Optical, but excluding Outpatient Pharmacy. Patients and Visitors shall be screened at the check-in desk, or Patients may utilize the kiosk for screening. Non-patient care areas, such as Eligibility and Enrollment, Release of Information or the Canteen, are not required to screen Patients or Visitors.

    Patients/visitors will receive a sticker with the current date when cleared from screening, which must be placed visibly on their clothing. Patients answering positively to any of the COVID-19 questions for symptoms or exposure, must go to Secondary Screening (Tent 2, back parking lot) by calling 253-209-2475 (if possible) and wait for in your vehicle. 

    America Lake's Domiciliary, Community Living Center and Blind Rehabilitation Center, will continue established COVID-19 screening protocols.

    Other VA Puget Sound care sites remain unchanged, and continue required onsite initial screening prior to entering any building as well as secondary screening (as needed).


    All Authorized Visitors must:  ​​

    • Have a negative primary COVID-19 screen.
    • Receive secondary screen if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Wear approved face masks while entering and inside any of our buildings (if you don’t have one, we will provide you with one; no medical waivers).
    • No masks required outside if physical distancing of six feet is maintained.
    • Must be at least 18-years-old. No visitors under 18 allowed, with one exception: American Lake’s Child Care Center.
    • Failure to adhere to masks and physical distancing policy will result in a loss of visitation privileges.

     Inpatient Visits:

    • Visitation is allowed between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., unless prior arrangements are made with the unit nurse. Overnight visits are not permitted at this time. We are encouraging visits to be no longer than two hours.
    • A single visitor may be designated in advance by the Veteran or the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Living Will designee. Names must be submitted by the care team to the Authorized Visitor List in advance.
    • Patients at imminent end of life (estimated within 72 hours) will be allowed a maximum of three visitors at one time. There may be a daily end of life visit for three days. No visitation following a patient’s death due to risk of infection. This may be arranged through your funeral home.
    • Residents in the Community Living Centers (Seattle and American Lake), Spinal Cord Injury Unit (Seattle), Blind Rehabilitation Unit (American Lake) and Domiciliary (American Lake) remain restricted.
    • Approved visitor names are placed on the Authorized Visitor list for seven days at a time. We are unable to rotate names within the one-week period. Approved visitors may visit daily.
    • Visitors must sign in through the front screening station and check in at the nurse's station on arrival to the unit.
    • Exceptions must be coordinated with care team in advance.   

    Outpatient Visits:

    • Patients can bring one person as an escort for navigation assistance or to provide care support.
    • Visitor must stay with the patient throughout their visit unless specified otherwise by the health care team.
    • Outpatient visitors are not required to be listed on the Authorized Visitor list.
    • Veterans and visitors arriving for Same Day procedures that require a designated driver will check in as directed in their pre-procedure calls.

    Please note:

    • The Emergency Department will make decisions for additional persons accompanying the Veteran on a case by case basis.
    • Unaccompanied minors cannot be left outside during your visit.
    • Non-approved visitors may NOT wait in the facility.
    • We ask that every effort be made to arrive as close to appointment time as possible, remain in designated waiting areas, and limit wandering in the facility.
    • Vaccination status of the Veteran or visitor is not a consideration, although we appreciate it’s presence.