Wednesday, 26 July, 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
Nellie Chapman | 21 April, 2017, 03:16

Democrats have criticized Republican politicians for wanting to privatize veterans' care.

"Veterans must have access to information that is clear and understandable to make informed decisions about their health care", said VA Sec.

Dr. 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.

The Department of Veterans Affairs launched a new website last week that allows patients to look at wait times and their quality of care.

The VA says veterans can use the site to compare that data with other facilities in their area. Their health records will be shared electronically with the clinic.

While President Donald Trump was busy signing an executive order to keep Veterans Choice alive, Secretary David Shulkin's team was busy implementing the new pilot in Phoenix, Arizona.

The current Veterans Choice Program (VCP) restricts veterans from seeking outside care unless they have to wait more than 30 days for an appointment.

In 2014, then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned after it was revealed that officials in Phoenix falsified reports about the wait times veterans faced at VA clinics.

The VA previously experimented with a similar program past year in the smaller market of Palo Alto, a $330,000 pilot to provide urgent care at 14 MinuteClinics.

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. This ensures the VA physician has the clinical information necessary for follow-up services in the VA, if appropriate.

Unlike the standard national Choice program, vets in need of acute care can be referred to a MinuteClinic right away.

"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 committed to providing top-notch care to the area's Veterans and this relationship will allow us to do so in locations and at times that are convenient for the VA's patients".