WASHINGTON (March 18, 2008) — To support veterans and their families during major emergencies, especially natural disasters, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun to deploy mobile pharmacies that will provide vital medicine when patients are unable to fill their prescriptions. VA will also open up the facilities to help communities during major disasters and other emergencies.
"The mobile pharmacies give VA the ability to provide critical medications to veterans when disaster strikes," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "VA is committed to ensuring our veterans receive their care and prescriptions as soon as possible during an emergency."
Each VA mobile pharmacy is housed in a 40-foot-long solid steel trailer built to withstand winds in a Category 3 storm. The units include a satellite connection with VA's Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy system, a computerized, automated state-of-the-art mailout pharmacy that can process more than 1,000 prescriptions hourly.
Pharmacists can use the satellite system to obtain a veteran's prescription data to dispense the drugs on site. In addition, VA can send replacement medications during an emergency by mail or another carrier to a veteran's home or temporary address.
VA recognized the need for mobile pharmacies in 2005 after hurricanes Katrina and Rita severely damaged VA medical centers along the Gulf Coast. The Department deployed several mobile medical clinics as part
of its response to the disasters.