The state of New Hampshire serves as a champion in the fight against COVID-19. The state’s leadership, community business leaders and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships secured scarce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be deployed to the VA clinical and first-responders workforce nationwide.
“Prioritizing safe delivery of care for our nation’s heroes and for VA’s workforce is the number one priority for the department,” said Acting VA Deputy Secretary Pamela Powers. “Once again, New Hampshire stands out as a leader in our nation for its collaborative nature benefiting Veterans. Governor Sununu and Dean Kamen made it possible for VA to purchase 4.5 Million masks to keep VA staff safe across the country. Having these additional resources is truly incredible and on behalf of the department, I offer our sincere gratitude.”
A FedEx cargo plane named “Macen” arrived at Manchester Airport stocked to the brim with 110,000 pounds of PPE. The cargo was secured partly with the help of New Hampshire inventor Dean Kamen. This was the third such shipment to arrive in the state. The New Hampshire Army National Guard attended the event to support PPE deployment.
“It is a tribute to our state that we were more aggressive and proactive in our approach to readiness from the get-go,” said Maj. Gen. David J. Mikolaities, the adjutant general of the New Hampshire Army National Guard. “We didn’t wait for the need to occur; we secured the supplies so when and if the demand hits we’d be we ready with our PPE distribution.”
Powers arrived in the Granite State early Thursday morning to receive the PPE on behalf of the department and witness the collaboration efforts firsthand. She expressed gratitude on behalf of VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to the workforce at the Medical Center, Governor Sununu, Dean Kamen and the NH Army National Guardsmen for their efforts in bringing enhanced safety resources to VA’s workforce.
An early leader
VA Manchester Healthcare System took steps early on to effectively address and protect against COVID-19. Interim Director Kevin Forrest was among the first to implement single entrance and employee screening nationally, a process aligned with the facility’s high reliability practices and commitment to zero harm for staff and Veterans in its care.
Powers toured VA Manchester during her visit. As part of her visit to the facility she experienced the screening practice, including FLIR thermoscanning technology. Powers recognized the medical center’s workforce for the expedited expansion of their community living center and the nurses who responded as part of VA’s 4th Mission to support nursing homes in Massachusetts.
“The medical center is applauded for their actions to ensure safety and for their expansion work in their community living center space for non-COVID care freeing up needed critical care space for veterans at our sister VA facilities,” said Powers. “The nursing staff who responded as part of our 4th Mission are truly exemplars among us.”