Hampton VA Medical Center closes ahead of Florence

HAMPTON, Va. — With Hurricane Florence approaching the East Coast, the Hampton VA Medical Center is closing until further notice.

Florence is expected to bring high winds, storm surge and flooding to the area, even though the path of the storm has shifted south.

Hampton VAMC is currently in the process of performing a full inpatient evacuation of the main hospital and will be closing all Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Albemarle until September 17. Most, if not all, of these patients, are being moved to medical centers in North Carolina, West Virginia and elsewhere in Virginia in order to continue receiving assistance, according to a joint news release from the offices of Virginia senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

“Virginia is home to over 700,000 veterans, many of whom live in Hampton Roads — an area that is especially susceptible to significant flooding and life-threatening storm surges. We urge you to use all tools at your disposal to continue to provide benefits and services to veterans when possible during and after the storm, as well as to seek additional assistance as required,” Senators Kaine and Warner wrote in a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

President Donald Trump was asked by Virginia’s congressional delegation to issue a federal emergency declaration for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The move allows federal agencies to begin offering pre-emptive assistance to states that will be impacted by Hurricane Florence.

Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a State of Emergency in Virginia in preparation for the hurricane and has ordered the evacuation of more than 200,000 residents.

“Following the storm, we look forward to working with you to ensure that VA programs and facilities in Hampton Roads and throughout the Commonwealth are operational as quickly as possible in order to ensure the safety of our veterans who require regular assistance. Please keep us updated on the status of the evacuation and the implementation of the VA’s storm management plan,” the Senators said.

Both Warner and Kaine served terms as Governor of Virginia. Both are also working with the U.S. Department of Defense and FEMA ahead of FEMA’s landfall.