CAVHS COVID-19 Update Graphic

Important Veteran Information – May 19, 2020



VA Medical Hardship Program - help for Veterans hit by financial issues

VA has options for Veterans who suffer from difficult financial circumstances and struggle to pay VA copayments. If a Veteran is dealing with personal circumstances like the loss of a job, a sudden decrease in income, or an increase in out-of-pocket family health care expenses, he or she can contact the VA to determine if her or she qualifies for financial hardship assistance.

The Veteran may be eligible to set up a repayment plan, request a copayment exemption, or a debt waiver.  Circumstances that qualify for consideration:

  • Loss of employment
  • Business bankruptcy
  • Serious illness
  • Unusual medical expenses
  • Education expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Change in marital status

In these circumstances, the Veteran may be eligible for a hardship determination, which would qualify him or her for a copay exemption and assign them to a higher priority group -- they would not have to pay any VA copays for the rest of the calendar year.

The Veteran can find more information on the VA's Request Financial Hardship website, where they can download the hardship worksheet VA Form 10-10HS.  The form should be completed based on the current year's projected household income and the Veteran should include the following for all that is applicable:

  • Income from wages until loss of employment or retirement
  • Income of spouse.  If lose of income is due to divorce or death of a spouse, income received until that point should be included
  • Include all disability income, Social Security, unemployment, interest, retirement income, severance pay, rental income, early withdrawal of retirement funds
  • Savings accounts, investment stocks and bonds, rental property
  • Verification/documentation of loss of income, unusual medical expenses, serious illness, bankruptcy, etc.

The completed packet should be returned to:

Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System
Attn: Eligibility 136A3/NLR
4300 W. 7th Street
Little Rock, AR 72205

For further questions, a Veteran or caregiver may contact Lena Pendarvis at (501) 257-5656

Graphic link to video about VA Financial Hardship Program


Limited reintroduction of services began May 18

Non-urgent procedures offered beginning May 18 include limited CTs, MRIs, ultrasounds and pain management procedures; audiology appointments; limited primary care clinic appointments; general mental health clinic and PTSD clinics; and up to 12 operating room cases per day.

Starting May 26, the prosthetics clinic and all outpatient clinics except ENT and cardiology will open at 25 percent capacity; medicine service will schedule limited elective procedures; and transesophageal echocardiograms will continue on an emergent basis.

CAVHS has been selected as a lead site for VA Recovery Operations in the South Central VHA Network - VISN-16. We are working on plans to safely reintroduce services here as a model for VA medical centers across the country.

To minimize the risk of exposure, Veterans are asked to plan to arrive at the clinic no sooner than 15 minutes before the start time of their appointment.  Other safety measures include:

  • When Veterans arrive at the facility, Veterans will be asked screening questions and have their temperature taken at the entrance to our facility. Please allow up to 10 minutes to complete this process.
  • Enter the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital only through the South Entrance/Red Atrium (entry nearest I-630).
  • Everyone entering our facilities is required to wear a face covering or mask. Masks will be provided at the screening checkpoint for those who do not have one.
  • Family members and friends will not be allowed inside the facility, so we ask that Veterans consider coming alone.  For Veterans needing assistance getting to their appointment, only one adult over 18 years old may accompany them.
  • Strict social distancing will be practiced inside our facilities, so there will be minimal seating space. Our goal is to move patients efficiently to exam areas.
  • Veterans may be asked the screening questions again once they get to the clinic.


VA lead facilities reintroduce health care services while ensuring safe environment

WASHINGTON− Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert L. Wilkie announced the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will begin to reintroduce health care services in select VA facilities May 18, as states reopen from COVID-19 shutdowns.

Each Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) has selected Lead Sites to be the first to implement a phased approach to reintroducing select health care services while ensuring a safe environment. The lessons learned from these initial sites will help to inform how other facilities plan for expanding services in their facilities.

Lead Sites introducing select services include:

VISN 1-- White River Junction VA Medical Center (VAMC), VT

VISN 2 -- Syracuse VAMC, NY

VISN 4 -- Erie VAMC, PA

VISN 5 -- Hershel “Woody” Williams VAMC, WV

VISN 6 -- Salem VA Healthcare System (HCS), VA

VISN 7 -- Ralph H. Johnson VAMC, SC

VISN 8 -- West Palm Beach VAMC, FL

VISN 9 -- James H. Quillen VA HCS, TN

VISN 10 -- Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC, OH

VISN 12 -- Tomah VAMC, WI

VISN 12 -- William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital Madison VAMC, WI

VISN 15 -- Kansas City VAMC, MO

VISN 16 -- Central Arkansas Veterans HCS, AR

VISN 17 -- South Texas VA HCS, TX

VISN 19 -- Fort Harrison VAMC, MT

VISN 20 -- Puget Sound VAMC, WA

VISN 20 -- Boise VAMC, ID

VISN 21 -- VA Southern Nevada HCS, NV

VISN 22 -- VA Southern Arizona HCS, AZ

VISN 23 -- Fargo HCS, ND

Veterans should contact their VA medical facility or provider for information about the expansion of services at any of these sites.  

“The safety of Veterans and staff is the highest priority when we consider how we provide health care services and procedures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA will take into account guidance from various agencies including federal, state and local government as we gradually expand health care services.”

As a high reliability organization, safety is always paramount and will continue to guide our decision making. VA facilities may not be the first to reopen a full spectrum of care but in reintroducing services, VISNs and VA medical centers will consider unique circumstances of their state and local markets, environmental safety preparedness and clinical risk assessments.

VA has developed a risk-based framework to prioritize non-urgent procedures in addition to the urgent procedures currently being performed. Evaluation of such factors as patient health, staff safety and resource considerations will guide expansion, scheduling decisions and which services VA will reintroduce. VA will continue to track capacity needs for in-patient beds and other resources.

Rigorous safety measures including employee and Veteran COVID-19 screening, physical distancing and appropriate personal protective attire such as face coverings, will remain in place at all facilities. Additionally, VA will continue to maximize the personalized virtual care options of telehealth, phone consults and wellness checks, as these services have been a valuable link to Veterans during this challenging time.

Sent to Email Address on behalf of US Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Health Administration · 810 Vermont Avenue, NW · Washington, DC 20420 · 877-222-VETS (877-222-8387)