Veterans enrolled in the El Paso VA Health Care System’s Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) program have received their first Moderna COVID-19 vaccination.
Many Veterans enrolled in HBPC are elderly and extremely vulnerable to communicable diseases. Usually, these patients also have mobility issues and are not able to drive to their local VA facility for health care.
Nearly a dozen El Paso VA staff members, including nurses and nurse practitioners, volunteered to work over the weekend to vaccinate these important Veterans in El Paso county and Las Cruces, New Mexico.
“I am very pleased we are now able to provide the COVID vaccine to our HBPC Veterans,” said HBPC Program Director Brenda Torres.
Raul Navarrete was one of the Veterans who received the COVID-19 vaccine. An 85-year-old Army Veteran who suffers from dementia, diabetes, and a heart condition, Navarette’s wife and daughter take care of his daily needs.
Always treated my parents with respect
“I just wanted to say how much my family and I appreciate everything the El Paso VA does for my dad,” said Rosanna Mata, Navarrete’s daughter. “They have made difficult situations easier for us. His nurse and the entire VA team have been a Godsend to my parents. They’re always treating them with respect and helping in any way possible.”
Priority for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at the El Paso VA is based on established CDC and VA guidelines. Clinical staff are available for assistance throughout the vaccination process.
The El Paso VA also has a married couple, Carla and William Wallace, enrolled in its HBPC program. The Army Veterans met in 1979 while both were stationed at Fort Bliss. While Carla has mobility issues, Vietnam Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient William suffers from congestive heart failure and diabetes.
Wonderful staff takes care of us
“Our son lives in El Paso but is a truck driver and frequently away,” said Army Veteran Carla Wallace (top photo). “We rely on the HBPC program heavily for our health care. The wonderful staff takes care of us and sets up all the appointments we need. This program is awesome. We’re thrilled to be a part of it. We wanted the vaccine very much. Our nurse explained everything, so we felt at ease. They monitored us for about 20 minutes and then we were on our way.”
More than 60% of the HBPC patient population at the El Paso VA is over the age of 75. Most have chronic diseases that put them at a higher risk of complications if they contract COVID-19.
“I am proud of my team for the hard work and dedication they put in to provide vaccinations to our Veterans who are homebound and otherwise would not have a way to receive this life-saving vaccine,” said Torres.
With 390 Veterans currently enrolled in the HBPC program, the El Paso VA serves nearly 40,000 patients in far Southwest Texas and Doña Ana County, New Mexico.
Ginette Bocanegra is a public affairs officer for the El Paso VA Medical Center. Photos courtesy of Home-Based Primary Care, El Paso VA Health Care System.