VA has good news for Veterans who need same-day urgent care for a minor illness or injury during the coronavirus pandemic: VA and its in-network community urgent care clinics are rapidly adapting their care practices to include video and phone options to ensure Veterans have access to their providers, while reducing potential exposure.
Veterans who need urgent care may have the option to use telehealth (phone- or video-based visits) instead of in-person visits at VA or in-network community clinics. Telehealth allows Veterans to conveniently access health care at home while reducing their exposure to COVID-19. Veterans have increased use of phone or video appointments by more than 800% in a matter of weeks.
Pictured above: Veteran Jim Doray and Paulina Doray join a VA Video Connect session from their home.
Some VA or community urgent care clinics may be affected by closures, limited services, quarantining or social distancing based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health department guidelines.
Call to ask about options
For safety, Veterans should call before visiting any VA or community urgent care clinic. They should ask about options to receive care virtually by phone or video.
Veterans can find same-day care locations by using the VA facility locator and selecting “urgent care” under facility type. Then select “community providers” as the service type. Alternatively, Veterans can find an in-network urgent care clinic by contacting their local VA medical facility. They also can call the VHA Office of Community Care National Contact Center at 877-881-7618.
Veterans who have care currently scheduled can continue to use this care as available and clinically appropriate. Sometimes VA’s community partners are not able to provide urgent and time-sensitive care. When that happens, VA will coordinate care and absorb that need at one of the VA medical facilities.
Through this unified system, VA continues to deliver care at the VA and in the community. We will see Veterans through this time of challenge.
Will Ackerman is a strategic communication specialist with the VHA Office of Community Care and a retired U.S. Air Force Veteran.