The Department of Veteran Affairs has loosened its regulations about where veterans can seek care considerably in the past couple of years. In certain conditions, such as distance from or availability of care at a VA facility, they can head straight to a walk-in clinic without preauthorization. The Urgent Care Association took notice—close notice, in fact, and is urging the VA to tweak the policy. While the idea of allowing the patients it covers to go to a clinic of their choice based on need was a big step for the VA, the term walk-in is so broad that it makes the services found in an urgent care practice and a retail pharmacy clinic indistinguishable, according to UCA. So, the Association offered comments to the VA on its proposal to refer to the benefit as urgent care, specifically. UCA also expressed concern over the VA’s proposal to define episodic care as a single visit, disallowing most preventive services. The UCA stressed the importance of follow-up care, in certain situations, to a nonemergent acute care visit.
What’s in a Name? Plenty, UCA Tells the VA