Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System
Medical Professionals Assist GCVHCS Through DEMPS
BILOXI, Miss. – More than thirty medical professionals are providing assistance at Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care (GCVHCS) facilities as part of a planned response to ongoing staffing considerations.
Nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses reported in early August to the Biloxi VA Medical Center as part of the GCVHCS, Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 16 and Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) planned response to Veteran need during the ongoing global health crisis. The specialized health care professionals are scheduled for a two-week rotation or more, providing continuity of care to Veterans at the Biloxi VA Medical Center.
“These VHA medical professionals represent the core of what we’re all about – providing the best care possible to Gulf Coast-area Veterans,” said GCVHCS Director Bryan C. Matthews. “Their knowledge and expertise are an integral part of this VHA-initiated response to ongoing health issues throughout the United States and will allow us to provide more care to Veterans – and others – in our area.”
The healthcare professionals were augmented through the VHA’s Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System (DEMPS), the organization’s main deployment program for clinical and non-clinical staff to an emergency or disaster. The DEMPS Program may be used for an internal VA mission, as well as supporting a mission after a Presidential Disaster Declaration under the National Response Frameworks Emergency Support Function #8 (Public Health and Medical Services).
According to GCVHCS DEMPS program manager Bill Wince, medical professionals augmented through the program are scheduled to provide services in the Biloxi VA Medical Center’s long-term acute care unit, the intensive care unit and in the facility’s medical and surgical wards. He said the volunteer effort includes medical professionals from VHA facilities include New Orleans; Fayetteville, Louisiana; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“The Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System (DEMPS) Program relies on volunteers for its success,” Wince said. “The program is important because it is the VHA’s main program for deployment of clinical and non-clinical staff to an emergency or disaster, or to support other VHA facilities during planned and unplanned surges in patient care workloads. Ultimately, DEMPS helps our national healthcare system, its Veterans and VHA facilities.”
Wince added that the augmentation of these health care professionals also allows Biloxi VA Medical Center medical professionals to engage in the VHA’s Fourth Mission – providing assistance to medical facilities and organizations outside of the VHA when needed.
The Biloxi VA Medical Center, along with the Mobile, Alabama, and Eglin and Panama City, Florida, VA Clinics, and the Joint Ambulatory Care Center (JACC) in Pensacola, Florida, are all part of the GCVHCS, which is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, and provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 70,000 Veterans.