Veteran Community Care: Overview

Hello, my name is Jennifer Hunt
and I served overseas with the Army Reserves in Afghanistan and
Iraq. Today I work at VA helping my fellow veterans get the
healthcare they need in the right setting. I like to get my
healthcare needs met at the VA. My VA doctor has always listened
to me and worked with me for my treatment plans. When VA
hasn’t been able to provide the care that I’ve needed such as with my two
pregnancies, I was referred to an obstetrician in my local
community. For nine months I was able to access community care to
make sure I had a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.
When I was done with my post-partum care, I returned to
VA for my care. Maternity care is one of the situations where a
veteran may need care outside of their VA facility. You might be
eligible for community care if you meet one of the six
eligibility criteria. You need a service that VA doesn’t
provide. There’s not a full-service VA in the U.S.
state or territory you live in. You are still eligible under the
distance criteria from the Choice program. Your average
drive time to VA exceeds certain standards or you can’t get an
appointment within a certain amount of time. It’s in your
best medical interest. Available VA care isn’t meeting
certain quality standards. The first step is to discuss your
needs with your care team. If seeing a community provider is
the best choice for your care, your provider will issue an
authorization. Once your eligibility has been confirmed,
a VA staff member will contact you to schedule an appointment.
You may also be able to schedule the appointment yourself. After
your visit, your community provider will send the bill to
VA, or one of VA’s contracting partners. If you are
experiencing a medical emergency, absolutely go to an
emergency room, or call 911. Otherwise, there are few things
to remember when accessing community care. You’ll need to
get VA approval before going to a community provider for most
services. You may be responsible for a copayment, the
same as if you had received care in a VA facility, for nonservice
care and for urgent care. Finally, even if you’re eligible
for community care, you can usually still choose to get care
at VA. As a Veteran and a VA employee, I’ve seen the passion
and commitment that VA staff have for serving Veterans, and
I’ll continue to choose VA for my healthcare.

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