Christopher Veremakis, MD serves as Vice-Chair of the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis (VNA) Board of Directors and a volunteer physician at VNA’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics. His experience and extensive medical background are beneficial in serving VNA in both capacities.
Dr. Veremakis graduated from St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1975. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Mercy Hospital St. Louis and completed his subspecialty residency in Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh in 1980. He has served as Vice President of Medical Affairs at Mercy, Medical Director of Virtual Services at Mercy, Medical Director of Mercy SafeWatch, Chair of Critical Care Medicine at Mercy, Clinical Professor of Medicine at St. Louis University and Chair of the Mid-America Transplant Services Board.
Soon after he retired, COVID-19 hit and changed his retirement plans. During quarantine, he reached out to VNA to see if they needed a physician to be present at vaccination clinics to answer questions and handle possible emergencies. VNA enthusiastically said “yes”.
At his first vaccination event, he answered questions and checked on people who had visible signs of anxiety. Soon after, he started administering vaccinations. “It was fun because you’re getting to talk to people and have some interesting conversations,” says Dr. Veremakis. “I really enjoyed doing that.”
Dr. Veremakis also helped guide VNA in adopting their new telehealth technology due to his extensive background implementing similar technology on a nationwide scale while at Mercy. “I feel I was helpful, but they were ready to take the first steps into telemedicine,” says Dr. Veremakis. “COVID-19 pushed them to put it into action, and I think they’ve done quite well.”
When asked why physicians should step up to volunteer during the pandemic, Dr. Veremakis had this to say: “It’s our role. We provide healthcare, so I think every physician in some way or another, if they don’t have daily work to do, would take advantage of the opportunity to be helpful and be a part of the effort to control COVID-19. I think most physicians feel that way and want to still be a part of healthcare efforts. That’s a part of our social contract.”
As a board member and supporter of the organization, Dr. Veremakis is proud of all that VNA has accomplished during COVID-19 and the ways they’ve embraced change and adapted to further their mission during trying times. “VNA did a really good job of keeping its own people safe and pivoting to deliver care to the community in a way that made sense during COVID-19. I am impressed and proud of what they were able to do.”
VNA is thankful for all that Dr. Veremakis does for VNA including assisting at VNA vaccination clinics and providing expertise in technology facilitated care.