COVID-19 Safety Measures and Information
In Case of Emergency: If you are experiencing a medical or psychiatric emergency, please call 911 or visit an emergency room closest to you. All urgent and emergency care options are open for in-person care, including mental health care.
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to receive four (4) free at-home COVID-19 tests. You can order at-home COVID-19 test kits online at www.COVIDtests.gov or by phone at 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).
You are encouraged to order your test kits now, so you have them when you need them.
For additional questions about COVID-19 testing at VA, visit https://www.va.gov/resources/covid-19-testing-at-va
The following guidelines are in place to limit the number of people inside the medical center and our Veterans clinics. These restrictions are necessary to protect Veterans in the medical center and health care staff.
- No visitors are allowed for non-COVID inpatients unless exceptional circumstances exist.
- No visitors for COVID positive inpatients who remain under infection control isolation with transmission-based precautions, unless exceptional circumstances exist.
- Patients arriving for outpatient clinic visits may bring one adult visitor with them to an appointment at a VA facility. The patient escort must be screened for COVID-19, complete a temperature check, and wear a face covering for the duration of their visit.
- Anyone who is allowed entrance must be screened for COVID-19, complete a temperature check, and wear a face covering for the duration of their visit. Any prospective visitor who screens positive would not be allowed in the medical center.
- During exceptional circumstances, such as end of life situations, visitors or additional exceptions to the visitation policy can be considered when appropriate. In situation where a visitor is considered necessary only one visitor in a 24 hour period will be allowed. Visitors should remain in the room with the patient for the duration of the visit and wear a mask at all times in the facility and in the patient’s room.
Testing for COVID-19
If you wish to get tested for COVID-19, please contact your VA primary care provider or by calling 866-487-4243. If getting a test is necessary, your provider can arrange an appointment for you to be tested at a VA or a community clinic.
Patients undergoing invasive procedures at a Birmingham VA facility should undergo testing for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their procedure and self-quarantine prior to their procedure. Talk with your provider about testing and self-quarantine requirements.
Please note, the Birmingham VA Medical Center’s Emergency Room is NOT a COVID-19 testing site for non-emergent patients. PLEASE reserve use of the ER for those experiencing a medical emergency or if you feel your COVID-19 symptoms require emergency medical treatment.
Vaccines and Boosters
All Veterans, their spouses, caregivers, and CHAMPVA recipients including adolescents ages 12-17 are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Birmingham VA facilities — even Veterans who don’t use VA for their care.
The Birmingham VA is administering the Pfizer-BioNTech and J&J/Janssen Covid-19 booster shots at its main facility, Birmingham VA Clinic, and Huntsville Outpatient Clinic on Mondays – Fridays, 8 a.m. -3 p.m. You can also get your vaccine at one of the local Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs).
Treatment options and VA Virtual Care
NOTE: Several medications are now available for outpatients recently diagnosed with COVID-19. These medicines have been shown to decrease the need for hospitalization in patients with mild COVID who are at high risk of developing severe disease. Ask your provider about these medications if you are diagnosed with COVID.
Face-to-face appointments are available, and virtual care is always an option for Veterans who prefer it. Your VA provider may recommend postponing appointments and procedures that may put you at higher risk of getting COVID-19.
Talk to your VA care team members about your treatment options and the precautions being taken to safeguard your health. Contact your VA provider using My HealtheVet Secure Messaging, or call 866-487-4243 to speak to a telephone triage nurse.
You can also talk to one of the patient advocates from Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central Time at 205-933-8101 -
- Birmingham VA Hospital : ext. 334740 or ext. 336984
- Huntsville Clinic: ext. 414043
- Birmingham Clinic: ext. 333844
VA Virtual Care
Using VA virtual care tools, you can continue to access high-quality VA care safely and securely from home. The Birmingham VA Health Care System has increased virtual care by 340% in the past year.
- Virtual Appointments: VA offers video or phone appointments if you choose to stay home. Using VA Video Connect, you can connect with your VA care team from home over video using your computer or mobile device. Phone appointments are also available if VA Video Connect is not an option for you (e.g., if you don’t have internet access or a computer or mobile device).
- To set up a virtual care appointment, send your provider a secure message on My HealtheVet or call us:
- Birmingham Area: 205-558-7095
- Outside Birmingham Area: 866-487-4243
- My HealtheVet Secure Messaging: With My HealtheVet, you can send messages to your VA care team online. Use Secure Messaging to ask your VA providers nonurgent health questions or to schedule an appointment.
- Register at va.gov or by calling the Birmingham My HealtheVet Coordinator at 205-933-8101, ext. 3903.
- Prescription Refills: You can refill your VA prescriptions and ship them to your doorstep using My HealtheVet or the Rx Refill app. You can also manage prescriptions by calling the Birmingham VA pharmacy:
- Birmingham Area: 205-939-4580
- Outside Birmingham Area: 888-250-3510
- VA Apps: VA has developed mobile apps to support Veterans through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Annie App for Veterans can help you monitor possible COVID-19 symptoms, and the COVID Coach app can support your mental health and self-care. Learn more and find all of VA’s apps at the VA App Store.
Preparing for Your In-Person Visit
Your safety is our mission. We have precautions in place to protect Veterans and VA employees. All visitors to Birmingham VA facilities are required to follow the 3 W’s:
- Wear a face covering.
- Watch your distance (stay 6 feet apart).
- Wash your hands.
Please note that all facility visitors — even those who have been fully vaccinated — must wear a face covering. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends that everyone wear a face covering in health care settings. And although state and local rules have changed, the national VA face covering policy remains in place to protect the safety of Veterans, family members, and employees at all VA medical facilities. If you don’t have a face covering or forgot yours at home, we will provide you with one.
Please observe the following rules during your visit:
- Arrival Time: You will be allowed to enter the facility no more than 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
- COVID-19 Screening: Please note that a member of our staff will check your temperature before you may enter the building. Some procedures require a COVID-19 test before your visit.
- Shuttle Procedures: Veterans who use the shuttle from the Birmingham VA parking deck will be screened for COVID-19 risk before boarding the shuttle. Shuttles will operate at 50% capacity, and all passengers are required to wear a face covering and observe physical distancing rules while on board the shuttle.
Thank you for helping us keep Birmingham VA Health Care System facilities safe for everyone.