Wednesday, 26 April, 2017

VA tests partnership with CVS to reduce veterans' wait times

CVS drugstore and pharmacy in Philadelphia. Three years after a wait-time scandal the Veterans Affairs Department is hoping a private-sector partnership with the CVS Pharmacy chain will reduce some of Florida Congressmen Cheer VA's New Online Transparency
Debra Rodriguez | 21 April, 2017, 04:16

"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 Senator John McCain. The new Phoenix-area program allows VA staff to recommend a veteran to go to a MinuteClinic when "clinically appropriate". A similar service was also launched with the VA in Palo Alto, California past year.

"Thanks to the leadership of CVS Health and the VA, Phoenix's almost 120,000 Veterans will now be served at 24 different area MinuteClinic locations for minor health care services". Of the many veterans surveyed about the facility, 61% expressed their disappointment in obtaining an appointment for urgent primary care.

"Our number one priority is getting veterans' access to care when and where they need it", Baligh Yehia, the VA's deputy undersecretary for health for community care, told the Associated Press.

Patients can call the regional VA medical center to get a referral to a MinuteClinic location, CVS said. Their health records will be shared electronically with the clinic.

Through the website, patients can also find out what veterans have to say about access to care. "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", he said. The new initiative is timely given that VA has on several occasions been alleged of having chronically long wait times.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is increasing transparency by launching a new online tool for veterans to get information on wait times and quality of care. Since then, the entire Veterans Affairs health system has been exploring new ways to expand choice and reduce the interminable time between requesting an appointment and seeing a clinician.

Now, the VA has announced a partnership with CVS pharmacies. Nurse practitioners for MinuteClinic can write prescriptions and give common immunizations.

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