The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will start loosening the rules around allowing individuals covered by VA health plans to visit urgent care centers next week—fittingly enough on June 6, the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The move marks the latest step in the evolution of the Veterans Choice Act, which was adopted 5 years ago in response to complaints that veterans were not able to get timely appointments at VA hospitals. At the time, there were tight restrictions around allowing vets to get care at non-VA hospitals; referrals were necessary, and granted only if certain conditions regarding mileage and the type of care needed were met. Last year the Act expanded to allow non-VA community care—but, again, only if certain conditions were met. The latest step forward will allow those covered by the VA to go to approved urgent care facilities regardless of how close the patient might be to a VA facility. The VA still advocates contacting a VA medical facility before visiting a non-VA clinician to ensure the visit will be within guidelines (eg, to a clinic on the approved list). Due to the fact that the new program could be confusing for patients and providers alike, the Urgent Care Association is hosting a webinar, Serving Those Who Serve: Enrollment, Participation & Next Steps in the All-New VA Urgent Care Benefit, on Tuesday, June 4, 2–3 pm Central. There is no cost for UCA members. Click here for more information or to register.
Urgent Care Doors Will Open Wider to Veterans Next Week