TOPEKA (KSNT) – To help local hospitals that are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, Gov. Laura Kelly announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be providing ICU beds for non-veterans. This aims to reduce the strains Kansas hospitals are seeing across the state.

It’s not as simple as walking into the nearest VA hospital however.

Chief of Communications & Public Relations VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System, Joseph Burks, sent the following statement to KSNT:

The state of Kansas requested support from FEMA and FEMA has approved the Fourth Mission authorizing VA facilities in our region to provide inpatient support based on bed availability at the time of need and on a case-by-case basis until Feb 17, 2022. There is a process in place on how non-VA hospitals contact the VA which includes the channeling of requests through a central Mission Control for the state of Kansas. Non-VA hospitals in Kansas that seek to transfer patients will submit transfer request to Mission Control in the state of Kansas (phone 877 992 5548; www.missioncontroltransfer.com). KS Mission Control will determine the best equipped and available facility (VA or non-VA) at the time. If KS seeks transfer to VA, the KS Mission Control will contact the our higher headquarters who will then coordinate with the local VA facility to provide the service.

At both of our Eastern Kansas VA hospitals, Topeka and Leavenworth, we are seeing a higher number of Veteran patients who are COVID positive and seeking care. This variant is highly transmissible and we encourage all to be careful and cautious by wearing of masks and being physical distanced. Our staff have been tireless working heroes and doing everything possible to assure the very best care to every Veteran who presents to the VA. As resources are available, we may be able to support the requests of our communities around us to help fight this continuing pandemic and relieve suffering of our Kansas residents.