50K Veterans Impacted By 2-Week Closure Of Fort Worth VA Clinic Due To Burst Pipe Damage – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) North Texas VA adjusts care for thousands of veterans using the system’s Fort Worth Clinic after winter weather made the building unusable by the second week of March.
According to system director Dr. Stephen Holt have ruptured water pipes during the prolonged freeze last week, rendering the entire first floor of the building and part of the second floor uninhabitable. Water-flooded areas that house critical equipment such as radiology and some of the building’s sterile areas.
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“It’s a great success,” said Holt. “We have served in this area of Fort Worth with approximately 50,000 of our veterans.”
The VA called veterans this week with options for care. They may be able to set a new appointment after March 8, which the clinic is expected to reopen.
Individuals with immediate needs may need to travel to the Dallas main campus.
For some veterans, virtual care appointments are also an option. Holt said the VA took a strong step towards video appointments during the pandemic, which put them in a good position for the situation.
“We want to make sure that no one leaves without the necessary care,” said Holt.
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Veterans use the clinics not only for basic and dental care, but also for special services such as cardiology, physiotherapy, imaging and social work. The building at 820 South Loop is the largest rented space the VA has, according to the department’s website. It serves veterans in 16 western counties, including Parker, Johnson, and Hood.
The damage also forces changes to the VA’s COVID-19 vaccination schedule. The clinic was delivering about 450 doses a day, all inside, which Holt said was preferable for most patients. However, the staff on Friday set up a drive-through operation that could be open until the weekend.
Holt said the owner of the building had construction workers around the clock to do repairs.
He commended staff members who he said reached out to patients who needed dialysis during the winter storm to make sure they had transportation. They screened people in special programs he said, even bought firewood and brought it home to veterans.
The VA facility in Tyler has also been damaged and will remain closed until March 3rd.
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Holt said that water pipes broke on the main Dallas campus during the storm and one tower in the hospital went without water for about 8 hours. However, the staff used bottled water to keep the facility running until the water could be restored.