VA Black Hills Health Care System
Prepare for Your Visit
Prepare for a visit: Everyone entering our facilities is screened, and visitors are limited. Face coverings are mandatory. Please contact us first before going to any of our locations. For some needs, you may be able to get care at home by phone or video.
What to expect at your visit:
- Anyone entering our facilities to include our community-based outpatient clinics will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure.
Masking, distancing, and hand washing:
- Inside the facilities, everyone is required to wear a face covering, mask, or face shield. If you have your own face covering, we encourage you to wear it to your appointment. If you do not have one, you will be provided a mask or face shield.
- During your visit, please ensure you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer kiosks located throughout our facilities. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout the entire facility.
- Please arrive no more than 15 minutes before your appointment since waiting rooms have been reduced to accommodate physical distancing.
- For outpatient appointments you may bring one caregiver, over the age of 18, to accompany you if you require assistance.
- If a waiting room or patient area becomes too crowded for safe physical distancing, the support person may be asked to wait in their vehicle.
Checking in for your appointment:
- Check-in for your scheduled appointment by texting “HERE” to 53079 using your cell phone
- Wait in your vehicle until you receive a text message saying “your provider is ready to see you now”
- If you do not have a mobile device, please remain in your vehicle until 15 minutes prior to your appointment. At that time, go to the clinic area for your scheduled appointment
Importance of Wearing a Mask
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to recommend all individuals wear masks in public or when around people who don’t live in the same household to stop the spread of COVID-19. VA requires masks to be worn while on our campuses and in our facilities.
This is especially true for people with lung diseases like asthma, emphysema and COPD because they may be at greater risk of severe complications and even death from COVID-19.
The American Lung Association, among others, indicate wearing a mask does not significantly affect oxygen or carbon dioxide levels. Individuals who have trouble tolerating a mask due to claustrophobia or anxiety can lessen these feelings by progressively wearing the mask for longer periods of time to adjust. They can also try different kinds of masks to find one that fits better or is more comfortable. Patients can speak with their health care provider about other options that may be available but still provide an acceptable level protection. It is important to note that masks with breathing valves do not offer protection but rather allow for the spread of the virus. If patients arrive on campus with this type of mask, they will be required to wear a VA issued one.
Safety Measures at Our Facilities
Your Safe Care is Our Mission
If you are experiencing a medical or mental health emergency, call 911 or visit an emergency room closest to you.
For Veterans in crisis, connect with caring and qualified professionals with the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 Press 1.
Your safety is important to us. The following measures have been implemented:
- In our facilities you will notice plexiglass barriers, and floor markings to promote physical distancing. We have reduced capacities in our waiting rooms to adjust for physical distancing.
- Masking or face coverings are required in our facilities
- Hand sanitizer stations are readily available for your use.
What to do if you think you have COVID-19
If you are sick or have symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath), call 1-877-339-6837 to speak with a nurse. It is best to make contact first before visiting our facilities. Staff are available 24/7 for nurse advice and triage.
Testing for COVID-19
Currently, VA is testing patients and employees who are symptomatic as well as those who are scheduled for medical procedures. We are also testing employees and residents of our Community Living Centers and other inpatient units in accordance with current CDC guidance. At the Fort Meade campus we offer a convenient and safe drive thru COVID-19 testing option. Call 1-877-339-6837 to be evaluated for an appointment.
Virtual Care Options
- Use Secure Messaging. You can send a secure message to your provider about any health concern or question. https://www.myhealth.va.gov/
- Download VA Video Connect. Your provider may ask you to consider telehealth for an upcoming appointment. By downloading and learning about the VA Video Connect app now, you can prepare yourself. https://mobile.va.gov/appstore
- Refill prescriptions by phone, My HeatheVet or the Rx Refill Mobile App to safely receive medications through the mail.