VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Increases Access to Care - VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
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VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Increases Access to Care

April 19, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Press Release header. Office of Public Affairs Media Relations (310) 268-3340 VHAGLAPublicAffairs@va.gov

VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Increases Access to Care

VAGLAHS and partners roll out Convenient Care Initiative in Kern County

LOS ANGELES – The Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Community Care, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS), along with TriWest Healthcare Alliance and California community care providers located in Palmdale, Lancaster and Bakersfield, have forged a partnership to increase Veteran access to medical care closer to home.

"We are ecstatic about the newly formed initiative that will increase Veteran access for our Kern County patients" said Ann Brown, Director at VAGLAHS. When clinically appropriate, VA triage nurses will now be able to refer Veterans to certain urgent care centers, through the Veterans Choice Program, for the treatment of minor illnesses and injuries.

Veterans may be referred to community urgent care centers for treatment of common minor illnesses, such as strep throat; ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections; nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; and heartburn and indigestion. Additionally, minor wounds, abrasions, skin conditions, sprains and strains may also be treated.

"We're really excited about this initiative," said Robert McKenrick, Executive Director of Clinical Care at VAGLAHS. "This further exemplifies our commitment to quality care for all our Veteran patents."

VA recognizes that services provided by these community urgent care centers are neither a replacement for primary care nor intended for emergency care.

VAGLAHS-enrolled Veterans may contact the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 22 Telephone Advice Nurse Triage Unit at (877) 252-4866, who will evaluate the Veteran over the phone. If deemed clinically appropriate, the nurse will recommend the Veteran visit the closest partnering community urgent care center to receive the needed care. A Veteran must be pre-authorized by VA prior to receiving community care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can Veterans walk into any community urgent care center and receive care?
A1. No, all care must be pre-authorized. Veterans should not walk into an urgent care center without first contacting the VISN 22 Telephone Advice Nurse Triage Unit (877-252-4866). While the services may be provided at a community urgent care center, this partnership is not an urgent care benefit.

Q2. Will I be referred to my local VA Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) or Community-Based Outpatient Center (CBOC) during regular VA business hours?
A2. All VA ACCs and CBOCs within VAGLAHS have walk-in availability during normal business hours; however, as can be expected, there may be a wait depending on the number of Veterans being treated or scheduled to be seen in any of the local VA ACCs or CBOCs. When calling the nurse triage line during normal business hours, it will be determined whether it is feasible for a Veteran to: (1) be seen at the local VA ACC or CBOC, (2) be offered a future appointment, (3) receive a referral to a local urgent care center or (4) be referred to an emergency department (should the circumstances require it).

Q3. What are the hours of operation for the community urgent care centers?
A3. The hours of operation vary depending upon partnering community care provider and their location. The VISN 22 Telephone Advice Nurse Triage Unit will be able to provide the hours of operation.

Q4. When Veterans receive prescriptions, where can they be filled?
A4. A Veteran may fill an urgently needed prescription at one of the approved pharmacies, as identified by the community provider or VA triage nurse. The prescription must be associated with the authorized convenient care visit and must be a 14-day or less fill.

ABOUT VAGLAHS: VAGLAHS is one component of the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network (VISN22) offering services to Veterans residing in Southern California. VAGLAHS consists of three ambulatory care centers, a tertiary care facility and 10 community-based outpatient clinics. VAGLAHS serves Veterans residing throughout five counties: Los Angeles, Ventura, Kern, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. There are about 1.4 million Veterans in the VAGLAHS service area. For more information, call (310) 478-3711 or visit us at www.losangeles.va.gov. Veterans in need can call the VA hotline toll-free at 877-4-AID-VET.

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