VA MISSION Act: Answers to the top five questions about urgent care



Urgent care is one of the new benefits offered as part of the VA MISSION Act that gives Veterans greater choice in their health care. The benefit is offered in addition to the opportunity to receive care from a VA provider, as VA also offers same-day services. We are working to ensure Veterans understand how to use the new urgent care benefit as part of VA’s comprehensive benefits package. In this article, we answer some common questions about the new urgent care benefit.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Both retail and urgent locations are staffed with healthcare professionals who are licensed and credentialed.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

For additional information about the VA MISSION Act, visit https://missionact.va.gov/ 

 

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Michael Beery    

    I visited the hospital in ER in Durham NC and was not happy about the help I received. I Had to go the local Hospital for treatment. The VA left me in the woods for treatment.

  2. John M. Harrison    

    I am trying my best to understand all this but I am not getting much help! When I first heard about the Mission care program I went to my local VA clinic & they told me they didn’t have the info yet as they have not been trained in it! I have gone back twice & so far I have not had any luck!I want something in writing that will tell me what is paid & what isn’t! Also, we only have an outpatient clinic here & are not open on weekends & close @ 5:00 pm on weekdays! When I first enrolled with VA I sat down with the patient advocate & he told me ( and gave me a brochure) that said if I have an after hours emergency go to the nearest emergency room or urgent health care center, show my ID card & the VA would cover the cost! I woke up one morning with so much pain in my back U could not walk! Every step felt likeI was having a heart attack! My Grandaughter called an ambulance, I went to emergency, had Xrays & was told I had had 2 ruptured discs in my back! They prescribed meds & sent me home!Luckily after a few days I could walk again but still had some pain & discomfort! Then I started getting bills from hospital! When I went back to local VA I was told that they only paid for life & death emergencies ( heart attack, stroke etc) I ended up paying over $2000.00 out of my own pocket! Why didn’t they tell me that in the beginning & why doesn’t their brochure tell you that! The nearest VA hospital is 80 miles away & was told if I went there everything would have been covered! Please advise me on how to recoup my money & what to do in future! The

    1. John Martin    

      John-Every VA hospital has a patient advocate office. I would suggest that you contact that office @ your nearest VA hospital. I say that because there are so many variables in your situation. One would be is the hospital you went to recognized as a treatment center by the VA. Is it on the VA’s recognized treatment list. Also, did you notify the VA when you went to the hospital that day? A good place to start at home is to Google “https://www.missionact.va.gov/”. Good Luck…

      1. Carol Sue Hill    

        How do I make note of a Patient Advocate group who not only didn’t fill out a report for me when I phoned in about an issue but now won’t even return my phone calls? I am trying to get reimbursed for an emergency dental surgery I underwent after visiting my VA dental office 5 times and they kept giving me antibiotics and sending me home (apparently to die). This is the Lee County Florida PA and DDS offices.

      2. Carol Sue Hill    

        How do I make note of a Patient Advocate group who not only didn’t fill out a report for me when I phoned in about an issue but now won’t even return my phone calls? I am trying to get reimbursed for an emergency dental surgery I underwent after visiting my VA dental office 5 times and they kept giving me antibiotics and sending me home (apparently to die). This is the Lee County Florida PA and DDS offices. P.s. this is NOT. Duplicate comment!

  3. Chad Childers    

    Sounds like a good program to me. There have been several times when I was sick that I wished the VA offered faster care.

  4. loaded mp3    

    I like the idea of the Mission Act.

  5. Craig L    

    I think this might be a great program once they get the bugs worked out. I ended up having to use my tri-care benefits and pay a copay for my medication. I followed the directions on the paperwork I was sent by the VA and then found a provider from their website, I called to see if the doctor visit would be paid since I had so much trouble with them paying for meds. I was told it takes 120 days for providers to be added to their list. The representative I spoke with told me to wait and see if the doctor gets paid and if I get a bill to call them back. I hope they pay for my doctors visit, the person I talk to didn’t still too much confidence in the program.

  6. John J. Toni, Jr.    

    I’m getting calls all day long from Tri- West asking me to select a primary care doctor; are they an authorized Mission Act provider? They ask for personal information; I don’t feel comfortable dealing with them as I have not received any information from the VA telling me I’d be hearing from them.

    1. Johnnie Martin    

      John-Do you have separate health insurance from another source? Such as Tricare/Federal health insurance from the US Government-State Government/or maybe health insurance from a civilian job? If you do and Tri-West is their healthcare provider-that is why they are asking you to pick a Primary Health Care provider. That would have nothing to do with the VA. Call Tri-West and ask them why? Also, call your VA PCP and ask them about it.

  7. Richard Schmidt    

    The new Mission Act sounds good. But I am puzzled by the Dental care part that indicates a reduced rate if you use Delta Dental. I went to both the Delta sites, the VA sponsored one and the regular Delta site, and I was amazed to find the VA program was a couple of dollars more than the regular Delta program! I made several calls and no one could explain it, only that each program was independent of the other. The only advantage (discount) I could see was there was no $10 application fee for the Mission program. Can someone explain before I sign up?

    1. Johnnie Martin    

      Richard-I think you are getting different programs mixed up. The VA and Delta have separate Dental care programs that require monthly payments. Neither one is related to the “Mission Act/Choice” program. VA also provides dental services to a very specific group of veterans-with very specific eligibility criteria. You can Google the VA Dental and it will give you that criteria. The most common one is all 100% VA rated service connected veterans-receive any an all care necessary. The dental care under the choice program is still hard to understand. I would suggest you call the Dental Clinic at your nearest VA hospital and find out if you are eligible for Dental Care under the “Mission/Choice Act.” Depending on if you have service connected disabilities/what VA priority group you are in/what the cost of living in your area is/your income etc,-all of that factors in to what VA services (Medical and Dental) you are eligible for and, what if any, copayments their are.

      1. Richard Schmidt    

        Johnnie, Thanks for the reply. It appears I was thinking the VADIP program was part of Mission. I do not qualify for dental care with the VA. So, the VADIP program using Delta as compared with the regular Delta program is what I question. I will take your advise and go to the dental office at the VA hospital for the answers.

        1. Johnnie Martin    

          Richard-Go luck with the VA dental. Before I was eligible for dental through the VA, I had a lot of dental work done by a large university school that taught and trained dentists. The work was always excellent and I saved several thousand dollars, over the cost of using a local dentist.

  8. Timothy Frank Hill    

    I am a Veit Nam vet. I live in Iloilo City, Philippines. I currently pay for at my own expense for urgent care here. I travel to Guam once or twice a year because the VA Clinic in Manila, I have been told, only treats for service related disabilities. I receive full treatment on Guam at the VA clinic there, but the expenses are at my own cost. Airline tickets, food, lodging and car rental on Guam are not cheap.
    My question is, will there ever be approved urgent care approved in Iloilo City, Philippines?

  9. Timothy Frank Hill    

    I live in Iloilo City, Philippines. have been told that I can only receive care at the Manila VA outpatient clinic, so I travel to Guam at my own expense once or twice a year. Have to obtain airline tickets, lodging, rental car and food at my expense. I have been receiving Urgent care and was hospitalized once in Iloilo City. This is all at my own expense. Will there ever be an approved urgent care in Iloilo City, Philippines?

  10. larry rummel    

    Larry Rummel Cottleville Mo
    Went to MinuteCare in CVS today…..fantastic experience …in and out in 20 min….bandaged me up with professional care
    A big WTG to the VA for this great new service

  11. Theresa Taggart    

    My husband has been w va at Indianapolis since 2012 and one visit he has cops and Parkinson’s then the next visit he don’t have Parkinson’s then it’s well I just don’t don’t know.he gets benefits for his back but they say his back isn’t connected.crazy.i wish we could use our family doct.

  12. Charles W Tillinghast    

    This is total crap , I followed the links provided and the instructions given and now I’m more confused than when I started.
    This whole startup sounds and feels like another of Trumps BS scams , watch the lil red ball or follow the yellow brick road.

    1. Ginger Emory Palumbo    

      Its not President Trumps fault that you cant follow simple instructions…

      1. William Dixon    

        Exactly Right! Always someone blaming our PRESIDENT!!! Whatever happened to respect for the PRESIDENT? whether you like the individual or not. Been plenty of presidents to dislike for any number of reasons. Nobody ever even remotely could have blamed Obama and gotten away with it…NOOOOO! That would’ve been straight up RACISM! Remember he had that uncanny ability to sniff it out..even when it wasn’t there. Follow his yellow brick road and see where that takes ya!!!! The VA is not perfect but it’s gotten a lot better under this administration for sure. If anyone needs help navigating their websites and using these resources there’s plenty of help available. Don’t come to these comment/reply places and bitch.

  13. Anderson Michel    

    Great news Benefits for Veterans. thank you VA and President Trump.

  14. Arnold Cabral    

    Not all I have not used Mission Act.

  15. Cynthia Matthews    

    I went to a va approved urgent care and all I had to present was my veteran ID card. All was free including my prescription . I am happy I don’t have to drive 1 hour to va urgent care again

  16. Roger Lamb    

    I am still confused. I live in a rural area, and no urgent care facilitues near me are listed. It is only 20 miles to one that’s listed … But it takes a over half hour to get there. VA measures from the center of your zip code and in straight lines, which don’t match reality. So if I trukbeed urgent care and go to the one in town only 5 minutes away, will I be charged?

  17. Marvin lipps    

    Same old bullshit nothing gets any better with the va system.the head of the va thinks your ovaries to our health

    1. Johnnie Martin    

      “the head of the va thinks your ovaries to our health”? I’m still trying to figure this out.

    2. James Walters    

      I too live in a rural area and, perhaps I’m not interpreting the information correctly, but the “in-network” or acceptable urgent care facilities in my area are all farther away than the VA Clinic – which is 40 miles from my home.

  18. Robert Ahles    

    I like the idea of a community urgent care provider but not at a CVS or Walgreens Pharmacy. I have real community urgent care providers near with extensive staff and equipment and the VA sends us to a local pharmacy. I think this is all political and really not in the best interest of Veterans. You will soon see numerous complaints about this program.

  19. Derek McDoogle    

    I like that you mentioned that you can go to an urgent care clinic for illnesses or injuries that are not life-threatening, like splinting, casting, lacerations, or wound treatment. I’ve heard that they can help you teat skin infections, pink eye, and minor injuries. Thanks for helping me understand the reasons to go to a walk-in clinic.

  20. robin mayo    

    How do I know if I qualify for the Missions Program

    1. Johnnie Martin    

      Robin-You must be enrolled in the VA Healthcare system to use the choice program. If you are not enrolled in the VA Healthcare system-Go to the nearest VA hospital with your DD Form 214. They will enroll you on the spot. They will also help you get a VA primary care Doctor. Google the Mission Act eligibility requirements and you will find the criteria for it..

  21. robin mayo    

    How do I find out if I can Use the VA missions program.

  22. Leonard Hughes    

    I think it a great new bennifit and very creative way to expand veterans care . Thank you VA and President Trump

    1. David LeGalley    

      Bull sh*t! This doesn’t work any better that CHOICE did in Montana and CHOICE didn’t work at all!

    2. W.A.C.Co.    

      Have you read any of the other comments? This program, like tRump, is FUBAR.

      We have several Walgreens and CVS in Springfield, IL. Also, there are clinics for the two hospitals in town.

      However, the only clinic I can go to is CCHC, for people on public aid, and is not a walk-in clinic. Or the VA, which is not a walk-in either.

      1. Johnnie Martin    

        My VA clinic accepts walk-ins. You do not go to the front of the line but they will see you. If it is an emergency, they tell you to call 911. As for the two hospital clinics in town, why not talk with them and see why they are not in the Choice program. It may be that they don’t want to be in the Choice program or they are not familiar with it. Since you are not happy with the current choice available to you-don’t use it. The choice program does not guarantee us that we can use any hospital/clinic/Doctor that we want. You have options. If you don’t like what is available to you, use who you want and pay for it.

  23. Leonard Hughes    

    Very impressed and it a great new Bennefit for Veterans. Thank You VA and President Trump

  24. Donald E Putnam    

    Just like the Choice Act this is nothing but eyewash for the public. I tried to use Choice, never happened the VA won’t do the job. Now, I’m trying to use the Mission Act and again my PCP won’t do the work to get me into Community Care. So, all you at the head of the VA and this program can all go fick themselves.

    1. Paula Zielke    

      Heres an idea…. use the energy you generate with negativity for a positive change.

  25. Gayla DeBose Kunis    

    I’d like to know why I went to one of listed Urgent Care, they copied my ID card, got prescription filled at Publix for $4.
    Then, this week, I get a bill for $364 because they don’t show any insurance. I shouldn’t have do deal with inefficiency and/or misinformation. Need this resolved.

    1. Dustin Faulk    

      It all depends on your priority group and income….this is where Vets get extremely confused and the VA does a horrible job at explaining priority groups to Veterans. If your income meets the certain means testing levels the VA use to do every year where we would have a means test and if your income fell under a certain amount, your priority group the VA placed you in played a role in your co-pay for Rx and Doctor visits.

      This is the same system…if your 100 % disabled, it’s a clerical error and call your VISN consolidated Fee unit and speak with the representative about your issue, but I’d your a Vet and make 100k/year, this is why you were charged the large amount. That’s about the quickest way I can explain it….your annual income, disability rating and priority group is going to make the decision on what Vets pay at ER’s and Urgent Care. It hasn’t changed, they’ve just done a good job at word changes of a system that will be the same from the time you entered, I entered and until the VA turns totally private, which is what I believe will happen…this is a slow walk to the meat market. Good Luck, I truly hope you call your VISN rep and get it resolved. Thanks for you volunteering for a service that doesn’t get near enough benefits we’ve earned – US ARMY (6 years active)

    2. Kimberly Jones    

      If you meet the criteria for the Mission Act, and your provider still will not make a referral then I would go ask to speak to the Chief of Staff of your VA and ask why. There are some very specific guidelines regarding when you can use community care versus the VA.

  26. Samuel G. Orr    

    I was told that there is no medical aid available to me (WW2 vet.) because My income is over $37,000 per year. Is that true? Samuel G. Orr

    1. Johnnie Martin    

      Samuel-There is no direct yes or no answer to your question. There are factors such as what priority group the VA has you in. What service connected disabilities you may have. What percentage your disability rating is-if any. Are you enrolled in the VA Healthcare system? Are you living in a high cost of living area-as determined by the VA. Your state should have a local VA office in the county you are living in. Give them a call and go down and talk with them. They will be able to answer your question. Good Luck

  27. Byrd Thibodaux    

    The Urgent Care Locator is very inaccurate. My zip code 98311 has at least 2 VA Urgent Care locations (Peninsula Community Health Services in Bremerton, WA) which are not listed in the Locator.

    1. Ginger Emory Palumbo    

      That means those are not in the network!

  28. Audrey Skarness    

    From where I live, the only VA approved places I can go are Huntsville, Tx. 28 miles away, and Conroe, Tx. 46.6 miles away.

  29. Michael L. Hastings    

    You lost it. Did fill this out.

  30. Paul Courchene    

    Thank You for the Great Service at Manchester (NH) VA Hospital …

  31. Michael L. Hastings    

    My husband needs surgery. We have been trying for over a month to find out who approves VA medical care. We are constantly told to consult your care provider. His doctor says his hernia is getting dangerous he needs surgery. We have made dozen of calls asking who to ask. His has a doctor and has been going through Tri West for approval. Now they say call a VA facility and they will get the approval. They give us the run around. Is he supposed to die before someone knows how this program is supposed to work. He is very happy with this present local doctor and we no longer have to drive 65 miiles one way. This system is causing a great deal of stress me as well as for him. I was in emergency room yesterday from all this stress. We are 79 and feel the Government is badly failing us again. We fought for 4 years to get local care and now we start all over again. We are also taking care of a brain damage son. We are fast losing our ability to cope with this stress.

    1. Johnnie Martin    

      I will try and answer your question-again. First reply went off into computer land. You must be enrolled in the VA healthcare system, to use choice. If you are enrolled, call your VA Healthcare Provider and get an appointment with him/her. He/she will get the ball rolling. If you are not enrolled in the VA Healthcare system-you must enroll to use choice. The easiest way to do that, is to go to your nearest VA Hospital with your DD Form 214. The will enroll you on the spot and help you get a VA Primary Care Doctor. The VA must approve the procedure. You start that process by seeing/calling your VA Doctor. Your civilian Doctor cannot authorize the VA to pay for the surgery. Good Luck

  32. Doris Chatman    

    Great information. I did not know about VA Urgent Care. Good to know. Thanks!

    1. Kimberly Jones    

      Call your VA Chief of Staff and tell them you need continuation of care if you have not already resolved this issue. I am writing about Veterans on a specific tab you can find on the Veterans page. You can go to one of the Mission Act articles and post a question.

  33. Ronald K Reddell    

    I like the idea of the Mission Act. That said, I’m In Community Care now and my PSA was very high!
    My Dr. put in a referral request for the Urologist to VA over 3 weeks ago and we’ve had no response!
    I’ve contacted VA (been bounced out of the phone system and left 2 messages for the Patient advocate) and still no response.

    How long do I wait to see if I have Prostate CA? System not very responsive!

    1. Johnnie Martin    

      Ronald-Easiest way to do that, is to ask your VA Doctor for a Urology referral. He/she will do that. How long it takes depends on your location. Once you get the VA Referral, call the VA Urology clinic and ask them what the wait times are. If you meet the requirements in the Mission Act, ask for a civilian referral. Maybe it will be quicker.

  34. Cyrus Lee    

    So 90 miles from Walgreens or CVS or like service, one way. Nothing but our ER at hospital at night. Week days have our small clinic that is the VA contractor. What about folks like me? Where do I go?
    So far all the info I have gotten is that the Mission Act is not really going to help us in NW Montana. My VA contact person still getting run around by Spokane about this net work stuff. Hocus pocus talk like you get from Blue Cross Blue Shield when you want a straight answer.
    Why can’t you guys just give equal treatment via local clinics.
    For example I need glasses, mine are scratched up hard to work on things.. If I was part of the rest of the system in Montana and had my VA service in Kalispel (90 miles away) but lived here in Libby, I could get glasses through a local provider, and they get paid. But since I ‘m with the Spokane, WA system 140 miles away I have to go there for glasses. But if I trade off glasses for other care then I loose being able to go to my local contract VA clinic where I have gone for years. I don’t want to drive 180 miles for an appointment. But I’d sure like help on my glasses.
    Mission did nothing to help me out on this. Seems Washington continues to not get rural America.
    LMK what you think on this.

  35. SPC CLIFFORD E BLAKE    

    The VA in HINES Illinois has refused me the opportunity to use the newly passed FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LAW know as the, Mission Act. I am in need of a dental procedure to remove a tooth protruding out of my month. This procedure is so obsolete in this VA, that I would have to put up with a full year of pain. When I could get a more modern procedure that would allow me to have it done in less time and much less pain and suffering. Please help me. I am a 70 year old Vietnam Combat Veteran, who is 100% Disabled by our Government. Thank you for your time and hopefully your help in this very important matter.
    SPC CLIFFORD E BLAKE
    Willow Springs IL

  36. Lawrence W Fegan    

    I have a concern and question on the new Mission Statement. I am a Vet receiving care at the Omaha, Nebraska facility. I have had issues with my back, knees and feet. I have had back surgery and knee replacement surgery on both legs. They claim my issues with my feet and legs is due to diabetic nuropithy, I disagree. The Omaha facility has worked very hard with me to find a possible solution as the doctors do not want to do any more back surgery. The Omaha facility dId not offer massage therapy at their facility. They had set me up with a massage therapist outside of the facility and the massage therapy does wonders for me. Now I am told that this option is no longer available and can not authorize any more sessions. Now the discomfort in my feet and legs is back and the solution to resolve my issues is no longer available. Please explain and what do you recommend to resolve my medical issues.

  37. Stan Lore    

    Your security question is 19 x 24. Are you sure it isn’t supposed to be 19 + 24? The answer block will accept no answer larger than 99.

    I just left a comment and question. When I pressed “Post Comment” the page reloaded with no message or other indication that my comment was accepted. It just disappeared. There is no way to read questions other submitted either.

    Am I missing something?

  38. Fred Rodgers    

    What proof is needed? VA identification card okay?

  39. John Petrichella    

    3. “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. One would have thought too get those “Doctor” ducks in a row before making old promises new again.

  40. jp romansic    

    You got to be shetin me, anything you have yo be a rocket scientist to figure out, and there many different answers and questions for a small problem, and their are lawyers of care you are gonna get a tube up your ase by adolf trump. Do you really believe these filthy rethuglicans will help you, if so you belong in a funny farm They will help you just like the tax cuts. The 1% get 90 % of the help you get and you get 10%.This is choice on steroids. Bitch, bitch, bitch ,bitch until we get what we need not the 1 %.

  41. Lewis Alfred Riley    

    Hi, I’m an Vietnam-Era veteran. I was recently given a blood test by my general practitioner, and he told me my PSA was elevated, so l should see a urologist.

    One of his assistants wrote out a referral form, so l could see a local urologist where l live, in Riverside, California.

    I called the urologist’s office to make an appointment, telling the person l was talking to that my PSA was elevated. She said the soonest the urologist could see me is in seven weeks, which seems like cruel-and-unusual punishment given the circumstances, and the fact I’m a hypochondriac.

    Can l see a urologist any sooner at a VA medical facility?

    Thanks for your time

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