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SAMHS takes precautionary measures to minimize COVID-19 risk

By BAMC and 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs Offices | BAMC and 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs Offices | March 15, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —

As a precautionary measure, the San Antonio Military Health System, or SAMHS, will be placing triage tents outside of Brooke Army Medical Center, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Randolph Clinic and Reid Clinic to safely screen patients, if needed, for potential infectious respiratory conditions, such as COVID-19, while minimizing the risk to others.

"Given our mission to provide world-class healthcare to over 240,000 beneficiaries, SAMHS is taking all necessary precautions to prevent unintentional COVID-19 cases from entering our hospitals and clinics," said Maj. Gen. John DeGoes, director, SAMHS, and commander, 59th Medical Wing.

While there are currently no Joint Base San Antonio COVID-19 cases, the SAMHS and JBSA are instituting precautions at certain facilities to ensure the continued health and safety of patients and staff.

"Please keep in mind that these triage tents will only become operational if necessary and will not limit our trauma mission or our patients' access to healthcare," DeGoes explained.

As an additional measure to help ensure the safety of patients and staff, officials recommend TRICARE beneficiaries consider calling in before coming in by using the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line, or NAL. These healthcare professionals can help patients decide whether self-care is the best option or if it is better to see a healthcare provider. Visit MHSNurseAdviceLine.com for a web or video chat, or dial 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273), option 1.

Beneficiaries also can call the Consult Appointment Management Office, or CAMO, at 210-916-9900, which can offer in-person appointments or even virtual appointments from their own home.

As an additional precaution, BAMC is temporarily delaying elective surgeries to support the effort to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases and to ensure healthcare professionals and resources are poised to support an increased need for acute patient care.

"We will continue to take proactive steps, working alongside our military and community partners, to both contain the spread and mitigate the impact of the virus," said Brig. Gen. Wendy Harter, deputy director, SAMHS, and commanding general, BAMC. "As this situation is rapidly evolving, we will be sure to share any updates and appreciate everyone’s patience and support."