Veterans Administration, the VA and CVS have partnered for a test program that will have the pharmacy chain’s MinuteClinic urgent care centers treating some veterans for minor injuries and ailments.
The program, which will be limited to the Phoenix area at launch but could be expanded, will still require patients to contact a VA help line. Then they may be referred to one of the in-store clinics for minor injuries and illnesses if the nurse answering the phone deems it “medically appropriate.”
“I’ve long believed that Veterans in need of routine health care services should not have to wait in line for weeks to get an appointment when they can visit community health centers like MinuteClinic to receive timely and convenient care,” care,” said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who also serves as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The pilot is technically part of the VA’s existing Choice program, which sends veterans to private health care providers at the government’s expense. Normally, under that program, vets are eligible if they have been waiting 30 days for an appointment or live 40 miles away from a VA facility that provides the care that they need.
Unlike the standard national Choice program, vets in need of acute care can be referred to a MinuteClinic right away. Their health records will be shared electronically with the clinic. Nurse practitioners for MinuteClinic can write prescriptions and give common immunizations.