The Veteran Affairs clinic in Peru has stopped direct-patient services and is routing resources in preparation for an anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients.
The move took affect Thursday and is part of a three-state operation in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. The VA said the decision is meant to focus resources to help treat the most vulnerable veterans.
“This measure is in the best interest of our nation’s heroes,” said Michael Hershman, director of VA Northern Indiana Health Care System. “We are working to eliminate unnecessary face to face contact to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and maximize our resource allocation to help treat the sickest veterans.”
Veterans who use the Peru Community Based Outpatient Clinic who are in need of acute medical care are encouraged to seek medical attention at VA facilities in Fort Wayne, the Marion Campus and St. Joseph Community facilities. Veterans can also utilize urgent care facilities within the VA network.
Veterans can visit https://www.va.gov/find-locations/ to find a nearby urgent care facilities in the VA network.
The Muncie Community Based Outpatient Clinic has also suspended face-to-face services.
For veterans in these affected areas who have questions about routine medical care, please contact 1-800-360-8387 ext. 75113. For those needing pharmacy refills, please call 1-800-360-8387 and follow the directions.
The VA Northern Indiana Healthcare System said it greatly values veterans’ understanding and flexibility as it continues to adapt to new information and combat the global pandemic.
“We are committed to the health needs of all our veterans and look forward to returning to normal operations as soon as we can,” the VA said in a release.
The closure of the Peru clinic came the same day that the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs relaxed the guidelines for veterans to receive money from the Military Family Relief Fund.
The department released a coronavirus emergency application, which provides undisrupted assistance to veterans and their families during the National Emergency COVID-19 crisis.
The criteria to access the fund have been changed as follows:
• Removal of the requirement that the veteran’s hardship must have occurred as a result of their military service.
• Removal of the required periods of war or conflict.
• Modification of the $2,500 lifetime limit to allow the IDVA director to approve MFRF requests in excess of $2,500.
• Removal of veteran’s ability to only utilize the fund to the total of $2,500, allowing veterans who have previously used the fund to apply for the MFRF COVID-19 relief.
The following are the new eligibility requirements for the MFRF COVID-19 application:
• Veteran must have written documentation proving that their position and/or job has been affected by COVID-19, e.g. a letter from an employer, a letter from a supplier.
• Proof of hardship as a result of COVID-19, e.g. a letter from an employer on official letterhead detailing a period in which the veteran will lose income as a result of COVID-19.