Bergman calls on veterans center to relax mask policy
IRON MOUNTAIN — Some military veterans are delaying or foregoing medical visits to the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain due to its masking policies, according to U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet.
Bergman this week sent a letter to Iron Mountain VA Director John Shealey imploring the center to relax its requirements.
“Strict masking requirements today are not rooted in scientific evidence, and their adherence now may be actively harming the health outcomes of our veterans,” the congressman claimed in his letter.
As of May 11, according to its Facebook page, the Iron Mountain VA has made masks optional, except in high-risk areas listed as inpatient care, urgent care, oncology and the Community Living Center.
Bergman, in a news release Wednesday, called on the VA to “expeditiously rescind Iron Mountain VA’s strict masking requirements to ensure all veterans feel comfortable to seek treatment.” The congressman said he’s heard from “dozens of constituents” sharing frustrations with the masking policy, some of whom have paid out of pocket to see another provider without such restrictions.
COVID-19, the congressman said, “no longer poses the same threat to patients and communities that it did three years ago.”
While calling for a policy change, Bergman did not address evidence that masks can reduce transmission of respiratory infections such as COVID-19 and influenza in health care settings.