Review of Veterans Health Administration's Emergency Department and Urgent Care Center Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic [open pdf - 1MB]
From the Executive Summary: "The VA [Department of Veterans Affairs] Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a review of the Veterans Health Administration's (VHA) response to anticipated demand and use of emergency department and urgent care center services when faced with an influx of patients needing evaluation during the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic. A survey questionnaire was deployed to selected emergency department and urgent care center directors to learn what steps VHA emergency medicine leaders took from March to July 2020, as well as plans they intend to take should a future need arise. COVID-19 is a multifaceted infectious disease that can cause a wide spectrum of presentations ranging from asymptomatic (without symptoms) to displaying severe multisystem illness. Beyond the flu-like symptoms that may characterize early presentation with COVID-19, patients can develop serious systemic problems. Making a diagnosis of COVID-19 in the emergency department or urgent care center setting may provide critical information to practitioners on the management of patient symptoms. OIG staff conducted virtual interviews with 63 directors from 49 emergency departments and 14 urgent care centers from July 13 through July 28, 2020, to collect the directors' survey responses on various COVID-19-related topics."
Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General, Report No. VA OIG 20-01106-40