SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Falls VA Health Care System wants the community to know it’s here to help in case the region sees a surge of coronavirus patients. The hospital is a 98 bed facility and it’s expanding right now to increase capacity.
It’s a hectic time to start as the new Director of the Sioux Falls VA Health Care System but Lisa Simoneau is getting right to work in her first three months in town.
Holsen: How have things been at the VA Hospital for you guys?
Simoneau: Things have been going well. We have had five positive patients now but we’ve been very fortunate that they’re all outpatients. So they’re home recovering.
The VA is screening everyone who comes into the hospital right now and there’s a limited amount of visitors allowed. Simoneau says while Veterans are her top priority, her crew can take in additional people if necessary.
“If things would really go south in the city, we would be available to activate our fourth mission which would be to support the local hospitals or support the Indian Health Service if they need our help,” Simoneau said.
The VA Hospital is adding beds right now to prepare for a surge. It’s also hiring. Human Resource Specialist Amy Scott says retired doctors and nurses are coming back to help and their retirement pay won’t be penalized.
Holsen: Are you guys stressed when it comes to having enough people?
Scott: We have people right now. We’re just trying to prepare for if we possibly get a surge.
The hospital also needs housekeepers, food service workers and respiratory therapists. Some are being hired within three days. It’s all in an effort to be ready in case the hospital is called upon to help.
“We have intensivists. We have emergency department doctors. We’ve got our ventilators ready. We’ve got our ICU beds ready and we have some additional ICU beds activated,” Simoneau said.
If you’re interested in working at the VA, you can call human resources. We’ve also posted a link for you along with visitor information for the hospital on our website at KELOLAND.com.