On Sept. 14, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin announced that VA is making beds available where possible to non-veteran nursing home residents affected by Hurricane Irma.
Shulkin has been working with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Bill Nelson and their staffs on this issue beginning Sept. 13.
“We thank Governor Scott and Senator Nelson for involving VA, and are grateful we can help our fellow citizens where we can in this time of need,” Secretary Shulkin said. “All Americans are pulling together to help one another, and we must make a special effort for those most vulnerable to the conditions brought on by the storm.”
VA has the ability to make its facilities available to non-veterans as part of its fourth mission to support national, state and local emergency management, public health, safety and homeland security efforts, and also through a mission assignment under the Stafford Act.
Shulkin agreed, where practical, to make beds that are not being used by veterans available to non-veteran nursing home residents as needed, while ensuring VA continues its primary mission of providing health care to veterans.
The VA is also working closely with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state and local partners on the overall response to Irma, in addition to this specific issue.
“We will continue to look for ways to relieve the hardship this powerful storm has caused,” Secretary Shulkin said. “Much of the heavy lifting to recover from the hurricane is still to come, and our leaders and staff are determined to find as many ways as we can for VA to help in coordination with federal, state and local agencies in the response.”