VA To Refer Some Vets To CVS MinuteClinics For Care

Gladys Abbott
April 21, 2017

In a recent survey conducted by the VA, only 61 percent of veterans said they could get a medical appointment for primary care when they needed one. They cited the feedback of local veterans and the success of a smaller test run with CVS previous year in Palo Alto, Calif.

The Access and Quality Tool is an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand way of accessing data, giving veterans more information about services and holding VA medical centers accountable, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs press release.

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. Hopefully, it will lower taxpayer costs and not the quality of care veterans receive. The program is a new effort created to alleviate the exorbitant wait times veterans face when seeking care at VA facilities.

"Veterans must have access to information that is clear and understandable to make informed decisions about their health care", said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin.

The VA did not indicate whether it received requests from other VA medical centers or how quickly it might expand the program elsewhere.

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Under this program, nurses at the Phoenix VA facility's help line will be allowed to refer veterans to CVS' MinuteClinics when it is deemed "medically appropriate".

The corporation selected an Epic Systems electronic health record in 2014 to support its MinuteClinic business. "We're looking forward to working with the Phoenix VA Health Care System team to ensure that their patients have additional options for high-quality acute care at times and locations that are convenient for them". The new initiative is timely given that VA has on several occasions been alleged of having chronically long wait times.

Nonetheless, the new CVS partnership is the beginning point of enhancing the successful provision of healthcare services.

The VA's new Access and Quality Tool will offer veterans more information on patient wait times and quality of care of VA facilities compared to local hospitals.

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