FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 29, 2023 No. 23-14
Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System Updates Masking Policy
Effective immediately, the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System is updating its masking requirements for Veterans, visitors, volunteers, and staff at all sites of care. We will continue to ensure the safety of our Veterans, especially those who are most vulnerable, while accommodating individual masking preferences. We will continue to monitor community spread in order to align our masking practices with CDC and VHA guidelines.
While community risk levels are low, as they are now, unmasking will be permitted in low risk outpatient and administrative areas. Masking will still be required in the following high risk areas.
- Chemotherapy Clinics
- Infusion Clinics
- Emergency Department
- Inpatient Medical/Surgical Units
- Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit
- Intensive Care Unit
- Inpatient Mental Health Unit
Additionally, Veterans and their caregivers who are meeting with staff in clinical and/or administrative areas may request that VA staff wear a mask at any time.
As of July 16, the Veterans Crisis Line has a new number: 988 then Press 1
Signed into law in 2020, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act authorized 988 as the new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. As part of the law, all telephone service providers in the U.S. had to activate the number no later than July 16, 2022. The new number helps make it easier to remember and share with others to access help in times of need.
Veterans can use this new option by dialing 988 and pressing 1 to contact the Veterans Crisis Line. Veterans may still reach the Veterans Crisis Line with the previous phone number—1-800-273-8255 and Press 1—by text (838255), and through chat (VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2022
Muskogee VA Regional Office Facility Renovation
In-Person Services Relocated to Annex Facility
Muskogee, OK — The Department of Veterans Affairs Muskogee Regional Office will undergo a major renovation of the facility at 125 S. Main Street in downtown Muskogee, OK.
During the renovation, which is expected to last several months, in-person services will be relocated to the Annex facility, located at 122 East Side Boulevard, Muskogee, OK, beginning July 5th. This location is less than one mile east of the Muskogee Federal Building.
To discuss benefits in-person, such as compensation for service-connected disabilities, pension, aid and attendance, and Veteran Readiness and Employment, visitors may access the Annex facility, which will be open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday.
For more information about VA benefits and eligibility or how to file a claim, Veterans and survivors can visit VA.gov or call toll-free at 800-827-1000.
Jacob Nichols, Public Affairs Officer, Jacob.Nichols@va.gov.
On April 26, VA announced the addition of nine rare respiratory cancers to the list of presumed service-connected disabilities due to exposure to fine particulate matter for Veterans who served any amount of time in
- Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria or Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War, from September 19, 2001, to the present, or
- The Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present.
VA is taking a new approach to making decisions on presumptives, one that takes all available science into account, with one goal in mind – getting today’s Veterans, and Vets in the decades ahead – the benefits they deserve, as fast as possible.
VA identified, through a focused review of scientific and medical evidence, a biological plausibility between airborne hazards, specifically particulate matter, and carcinogensis of the respiratory tract; the unique circumstances of these rare cancers warrant a presumption of service connection.
Veterans and survivors who had claims previously denied for any of the below respiratory cancers are encouraged to file a supplemental claim for benefits;
- Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx;
- Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea;
- Adenocarcinoma of the trachea;
- Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea;
- Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung;
- Large cell carcinoma of the lung;
- Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung;
- Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung and;
- Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung.
VA will contact impacted Veterans and survivors to inform them about their eligibility and it will provide information on how to apply.