The Veterans Administration implemented the MISSION Act on June 6, but one of the lesser known provisions of the law established a new urgent care benefit that allows eligible veterans access to urgent and walk-in care at participating clinics. Veterans now do not need to get prior authorization from the VA to visit an urgent care provider in VA’s network. In this Q&A, Joe Burks, public affairs officer for the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System, talks about how the initiative benefits veterans.
Q: Why is the urgent care provision helpful to veterans?
A: With urgent care, veterans have a new option for treatment on minor injuries and illnesses such as colds, sore throats and minor skin infections. The benefit is offered in addition to the opportunity to receive care from a VA provider, as VA Eastern Kansas also offers same-day services.
Q: What kinds of care can veterans expect at urgent care clinics?
A: Veterans can expect medical services providing for minor illnesses that are not life-threatening such as strep throat, pink eye or influenza. Urgent care also covers diagnostic services such as X-rays, some lab testing and some medications (with limitations). However, not all networks will be able to offer some services.
Q: Which local urgent care clinics are participating?
A: Veterans can seek out local urgent care clinics by going to the locator tool at www.vaurgentcarelocator.triwest.com/Locator/Care
Simply filter your search to include address, VA facility or zip code while selecting the mile radius.
Q: Why did the VA roll out is new initiative?
A: It is important to provide veterans the care they have earned as quickly as possible and nearest the communities they live.While choosing a VA Eastern Kansas facility is always available, we understand that not all veterans who are eligible for care have immediate access to their local VA medical center or community outpatient clinic.
Q: Are there certain provisions that veterans must follow to receive this care?
A: To be eligible for urgent and walk-in care, veterans must be enrolled in the VA health care system and have received care through VA from either a VA or community provider within the past 24 months. Veterans will be able to receive urgent care from an urgent care provider that is part of the VA’s contracted network of community providers without prior authorization from VA. VA can pay for an urgent care claim only if the veteran is eligible for the benefit; the urgent care provider is part of the network of community providers, and the services are not excluded under the benefit, Excluded services include preventive services and dental services.
Q: How can veterans get more information?
A: Veterans can access the Community Care website at any time to find out more at www.va.gov/COMMUNITYCARE/programs/veterans/Urgent_Care.asp
Veterans are also welcome to contact a local Community Care customer service agent here at VA Eastern Kansas by calling 785-350-4330.We at VA Eastern Kansas are honored to serve the veterans of this great nation and our heroes of this great community.