As many as 2.1 million United States veterans will be able drop into any approved urgent care center that’s convenient to them whenever they need to, without prior authorization, under new regulations proposed by the Department of Veterans Affairs this week. The option to see private physicians, including urgent care providers, would apply to any vets who would have to wait more than 20 days or who would have to drive 30 minutes or more to get to a VA facility. Current rules only apply to those who would have to wait 30 days or drive 40 miles; under those stipulations, right now only 560,000 individuals can see a private provider instead of a VA clinician. Critics complain the move would increase costs to an unsustainable level; however, the VA says many of the vets who have the option currently still choose visit VA facilities when it’s feasible.
New VA Regs Would Allow Millions of Vets to Choose Urgent Care