VA has announced a new initiative between the Phoenix VA Health Care System (PVAHCS), TriWest Healthcare Alliance, and MinuteClinic, (the retail medical clinic of CVS Health) that will expand access to high quality and convenient health care services for Veterans in Phoenix and surrounding communities. Through this initiative, Phoenix VA nurses, when clinically appropriate, will now be able to refer Veterans to MinuteClinic through the Veterans Choice Program for the treatment of minor illnesses and injuries.
“Our number one priority is getting Veterans access to care when and where they need it. The launch of this partnership will enable VA to provide more care for Veterans in their neighborhoods,” said Dr. Baligh Yehia, deputy undersecretary for Health for Community Care.
Yehia is leading the VA in its transformational journey to provide Veterans with easy access to personalized care from a robust network of federal and private providers. “Partnerships between VA and private providers are essential to delivering care in the diverse geographies where Veterans live,” he said.
This sentiment is echoed by TriWest, one of VA’s partners in administering the Veterans Choice Program.TriWest President and Chief Executive Officer David J. McIntyre, Jr., stated, “TriWest values greatly the partnership with community providers who share our commitment to providing Veterans timely, high quality, and convenient health care.”
“This new public-private collaboration between CVS, TriWest and the VA is an important step forward in enhancing choice and flexibility in Veterans’ health care,” said Sen. John McCain. “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. Thanks to the leadership of CVS Health and the VA, Phoenix’s nearly 120,000 Veterans will now be served at 24 different area MinuteClinic locations for minor health care services.”
This innovative program provides Veterans with more options and access points for receiving care for a wide array of minor illnesses and injuries.
“We are thrilled to have this new partnership for Phoenix area Veterans. Increasing access and availability of care is crucial. In sending Veterans out into the community, however, we are always conscious of providing the best care coordination we can. We are working to leverage technology to share important clinical information and ensure care continuity,” said Dr. Maureen McCarthy, PVAHCS chief of staff.
To facilitate care coordination, the partnership will share electronic health information in the same manner that proved successful in a similar program launched in 2016 with the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. MinuteClinic visit summaries will be sent to a Veteran’s VA primary care physician. This ensures the VA physician has the clinical information necessary for follow-up services in the VA, if appropriate.
Enrolled Veterans who call the Phoenix VA Health Care System Help Line at 602-222-6550 or 800-574-7174 (toll free) can be referred to one of the 24 MinuteClinic locations in the Phoenix area for treatment of common acute illnesses.
“We believe in the MinuteClinic model of care and are excited to offer our health care services as one potential solution for the Phoenix VA Health Care System and its patients with minor illnesses and injuries,” said CVS MinuteClinic Chief Medical Officer, Tobias Barker, M.D. “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.”