VA providing support to Veterans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria


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For the latest on VA’s response and inspiring stories of service to Veterans impacted by the hurricanes, read more on the blog.  For those impacted by Hurricane Maria click here.

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, VA announced today that it continues to provide vital health care and other support to displaced Veterans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).

In Puerto Rico where electricity was knocked out by Hurricane Maria, the San Juan VA Medical Center  — currently operating on generator power and staffed by 800 employees — is providing health care for 338 inpatients, with primary care and mental health services available for walk-in patients.

“We have been in constant contact with VA Caribbean Healthcare System leadership in San Juan and are sending relief resources to the VA medical center as soon as possible through available transportation assets,” said VA press secretary Curt Cashour. “Along with hurricane-hardened construction standards, the San Juan VAMC has enough fuel, water and other supplies to last at least seven days, if not more.”

Since Hurricane Maria also damaged communication systems, such as cellular phone towers and telephone landlines, VA officials have been monitoring the VA Caribbean Facebook page, and responding to family requests for status of both patients and staff.

Meanwhile, all community clinics, including Vet Centers in Puerto Rico and USVI, have been closed until further notice. Patients with appointments will be contacted as soon as possible to reschedule. Veterans Benefits Administration offices are also closed. VA national cemeteries in Puerto Rico are also temporarily closed.

VA is also coordinating standby personnel to deploy in the event they are needed, along with mobile shelters for use as sleeping quarters, as well as mobile medical units, which can be used to augment medical services in the area.

VA teams will begin damage assessments as soon as it is safe to do so and travel routes are clear. Once assessments are complete, officials will share information about when VA clinics will be operational.

The following resources are available for Veterans and employees impacted by the hurricanes:

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Comments

  1. Arlene Valentin    

    My dad is hospitilized in the VA hospital in Rio Pedrias, he was physically evacuated before huricane Irma.
    As of today, we have not spoken to him personally. Admissions would never pick up the phone. A couple of doctors eventually spoke with my sister about his PHI, but as of today has never reached out to us again. How can this be?

    1. Charlee Ford    

      And while I understand your frustration and I do hope you receive some encouraging information soon; under the current circumstances, could it be that they might just be a teeny bit busy? Or is it possible that with all the damage there might not be a reliable method of communication available? Every VA has an Advocate I would like to suggest that you reach out the VA closest to where you are, seek out the advocate and tell him of your dilemma. If she/he can not help you or you feel that your point is not being adequately addressed, the Directors of the VA usually all have open door policy, go up to that office and request to speak with that individual. Again, keep in mind if you do not have power of Atty, it may be difficult to get any information as the VA is quite strict about sharing PHI. If neither of those two resources work for you, ask them to be specific on exactly whom you need to speak to in order to find out the status of your father. I hope you will find him well and being well cared for.

  2. Thomas Fruge    

    I served in the Marines from1979 to 1983. Although I wasn’t in any combat at the time I did serve overseas. Is there any benefits for non- combat servicemen who served during peace time. And were ready for combat at all times.

  3. Jose H Velez Flaquer    

    VA Puerto Rico do not care at all for disabled veterans. I am a 100% Service connected Bed ridfen Vet, and the refuse to grant me transportation to VA because, according to them, “no evidence of permanent and total bedridden statusFor Ambulance! No further explanation given!

    1. Charlee Ford    

      That is not the VA sir, that is one someone with a pencil. Appeal your case. It may be that all the facts are not in evidence. The VA is a great institution and the people who work there do some great work, but sometimes the work that needs to be done gets in the way of the work that is being done and something gets shuffled to the wrong place. I would suggest you start with your current M.D. As I mentioned above, there is a Veteran’s Advocate in large VAMCs enlist the help of that person. Find out why you have received that particular determination and if you don’t agree, you still have the option of a second opinion and you can consider appealing the determination. Good luck! Your service is not taken lightly,

  4. Jackie Rivera    

    Hi I’ve been attempting twice to send send a message and after entering the captcha code it goes nowhere,,, this is a test

  5. Jackie Rivera    

    Greetings,

    My name is Jacqueline Rivera, I currently live in NYC but my father Severo Rivera, a WWII veteran, resides in the town of Orocovis , Puerto Rico. He had hip surgery at the end of August and cannot walk, due to the storm he’s gotten short on medication for his pain and a high blood pressure medication he needs to take on a daily basis besides of the essentials like water, food that everyone else is lacking.
    I watched either on CNN or MSNBC a report of veterans visits I believe Veterans Affairs were conducting in the island bringing medications and providing basic medical attention to these vets.
    I was wondering if these visits have been done under VA if my father could get a visit and be provided with a check up, some food, water and anything else that can be provided with.

    Your consideration to this matter will be greatly appreciated.

    Jacqueline Rivera

Comments are closed.