The VA's fourth mission


Last updated 7/21/2021 at 9:54am | View PDF

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs has been busy. It was recently announced that it has completed 150 Fourth Mission assignments across the country.

Fourth Mission’s goal is to improve preparedness for response to war and national emergencies by developing plans and taking actions to support service to veterans as well as national efforts. In other words, when a need is there, so is help. (The first three VA Missions are health care, benefits and national cemeteries.)

If you ever doubted that the COVID pandemic has been a true emergency, you only need to look at the very long list of Fourth Mission humanitarian efforts to back up the nation’s health care system.

Here are a few examples of what the VA’s Fourth Mission has accomplished in all 50 states plus territories:

– Provided 935,000 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment.

– Admitted 488 non-veteran citizens to VA medical centers for treatment.

– Deployed over 5,000 medical personnel to 1,215 state VA homes, 980 community nursing homes and 94 non-VA hospitals. In Arizona alone, they provided staffing for six civilian hospitals. In Florida, they worked with over 8,000 long-term-care patients at 82 facilities. In Virginia, it was 852 long-term-care facilities.

There were untold thousands of COVID tests given and results processed. When the vaccines came out, VA personnel were there across the country to administer them.

The efforts weren’t limited to hands-on medical staff. Truck drivers were sent to multiple states to deliver supplies and vaccines. Pharmacists were sent to numerous locations, including federal prisons. VA personnel fed 250 veteran families every month in Georgia, along with 150 homebound VA patients. They held town hall and state meetings with civilian authorities to coordinate how to contain the spread of COVID.

I’m impressed by this massive effort. To the thousands of VA personnel who volunteered to go, thank you.

(c) 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.


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