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Ann Arbor VA accepts non-veteran patients to fight coronavirus

Ann Arbor VA (Veterans Health/Flickr)
April 11, 2020

For the first time in its history, some non-veteran patients will be treated for coronavirus infection at the VA hospital in Ann Arbor.

Patient transfers to the 67-year-old VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, as well as the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit, began Sunday, April 5, to address the strain of COVID-19 inpatients in southeast Michigan hospitals, according to a news release.

The Ann Arbor medical center opened 35 beds to critical and non-critical COVID-19 patients, according to the VA. Ten beds are for intensive care and 25 are for acute care.

The two veteran health systems activated the VA’s “fourth mission,” an additional goal to serve the nation more broadly during national emergencies by supporting local needs to non-veterans during crises. Both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state requested support from the VA.

The decision to accept non-veteran patients came after determining it would not negatively impact veteran care, VA leaders said.

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“We’re well-positioned to deliver humanitarian assistance to our community,” Ann Arbor Medical Center Director Ginny Creasman said in a statement. “Our colleagues at other health care systems are in desperate need of relief and we’re able to help, while still preserving a vast majority of our inpatient beds for our Veterans.”

Michigan is one of the hardest-hit states in the country during the coronavirus pandemic with more than 17,000 confirmed cases as of Monday, April 6. Some hospitals say they are at or near-capacity, especially those in the Detroit-area, where a majority of the state’s cases are so far.

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© 2020 MLive.com