While VA Clinics Remain Closed, Rep. Campbell Shares Resources, Provides Holyoke Virus Update

State Rep. Linda Dean Campbell shares a moment with a veteran during a ceremony at the State House. (Courtesy photograph.)

Although area Veterans Administration clinics are closed, Rep. Linda Dean Campbell reminds veterans that services remain available.

Campbell, who is the House chair of the legislature’s Committee on Veteran and Federal Affairs, said veterans should call their VA primary care physicians if they need to coordinate routine care, refill medications or receive hospital care or testing, or have concerns about COVID-19 symptoms. Upon verification from primary care physicians, local veterans may be tested locally in the Merrimack Valley. She added, veterans who need emergency care should go to a local hospital emergency room.

The representative noted the VA nursing, hospital and psychiatric care facility in Bedford remains open, but is receiving COVID-19 infected patients in a separate unit. Campbell noted family visits are limited and then only to those patients receiving non-COVID-19 palliative care.  Visitors to the Bedford VA should call ahead, 24 hours a day, by dialing 800-838-6331.

Campbell, who has requested an investigation into the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home where approximately 25 veterans have died from COVID-19, said she has received many inquiries about the issue.

“We are all filled with anguish, and many with understandable anger, because of the deaths that have occurred at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home,” she said. Campbell added all residents and staff have been tested for COVID-19 at a mobile testing unit provided by the Massachusetts National Guard. Patients with the virus were transferred to Holyoke Community Hospital. She noted the Holyoke Home superintendent was placed on leave, but she has confidence in former federal prosecutor Mark Pearlstein named by Gov. Charlie Baker to investigate.

Other Veterans Resources

The Veterans Crisis Line: available 24 hours a day for urgent issues, 800-273-8255, option 1.

Telephone Care Line: available 24 hours a day, at 800-838-6331.

Pharmacy Refill: 800-VETMED1 (838-6331), then option 2

Web:  bedford.va.gov

Facebook: facebook.com/BedfordVAHospital

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