With key provisions of the Department of Veterans Affairs MISSION Act going into effect last month, many veterans are wondering how the law affects them. Urgent care is one of the areas where there are significant changes, and the VA recently released a brief Q&A on the new urgent care benefit, which follows below:
What is urgent care?
Urgent care is a type of walk-in health care for situations where you need help but don’t have an emergency, such as colds, ear infections, minor injuries, pink eye, skin infections, and strep throat.
Why are there different urgent care locations?
There are two types of urgent care network locations: Retail and Urgent.
- Retail locations such as CVS or Walgreens are places where you can get care for minor ailments like a sore throat or earache.
- Urgent locations provide more comprehensive walk-in care for illnesses or injuries that are not life-threatening, like splinting, casting, lacerations, or wound treatment.
Are there urgent care providers near me?
VA launched the urgent care benefit on June 6, 2019, and we are working to expand our network of urgent care providers, adding more every week. Urgent care providers are vetted and must meet strict standards of care and other requirements before they are added to VA’s network. To find a location, use the VA facility locator at https://www.va.gov/find-locations/. Select the link entitled “Find VA approved urgent care locations and pharmacies near you”. If you arrive at an urgent care network location and have difficulty receiving care, call 866-620-2071 for assistance. More information.
How do I get prescription medication with the urgent care benefit?
You can get up to a 14-day supply of prescription medication through VA, a VA-contracted pharmacy, or a non-contracted pharmacy. If you choose to fill an urgent care prescription at a non-contracted pharmacy, you will be required to pay for the prescription when you pick it up and then file a claim for reimbursement at your local VA medical facility. Prescription medication for longer than a 14-day supply must be filled by a VA pharmacy. More information.
Do I have to make copayments for urgent care?
Copayments for urgent care depend on your assigned priority group and the number of times you visit any urgent care provider in a calendar year. Urgent care copayments are not charged when you receive care from an urgent care provider, but are billed separately by VA. More information.