VA Now Pays For CVS “MinuteClinics” For Minor Illnesses

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minuteclinics

VA now pays for CVS “MinuteClinics” in Phoenix as part of a pilot project to treat minor illnesses and injuries to decrease wait times.

The project is part of a series of trials in a partnership between CVS and VA to test the limited treatment model, which was first used near the Palo Alto VA. Its goal is to reduce wait times and provide a cost effective solution similar to the “sick call” model used by the military for decades.

“Our number one priority is getting veterans’ access to care when and where they need it,” said Baligh Yehia, the VA’s deputy undersecretary for health for community care. “The launch of this partnership will enable VA to provide more care for veterans in their neighborhoods.

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.

Past VA – CVS MinuteClinics Pilot

As for the Palo Alto experiment last year, the pilot cost $330,000 and resulted in urgent care being provided at 14 MinuteClinics. If the program is successful in Phoenix, CVS plans to roll out the project nationally.

“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,” said Tobias Barker, chief medical officer of CVS MinuteClinic.

The move is certainly a sign that VA is willing to consider out of the box solutions to remedy the wait time crisis. One benefit of using the MinuteClinics is that VA will not endeavor to build the facilities but instead rely on private sector investments already in place.

I liken this to a kind of cost-share model where VA benefits from an infrastructure already in place. Hopefully, it will lower taxpayer costs and not the quality of care veterans receive.

While the unions may not be pleased since this creates less demand at agency hospitals and emergency rooms and therefore less demand for more employees/union members, veterans will receive services in a more timely manner, at least in theory.

What do you think of the move?

I say if veterans get access to beneficial care in a more timely manner within their community, it sounds like a win.

Take a minute to check out the Minute Clinic website and report back here with your thoughts on the website and ease of finding a clinic near you.

Source: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/veterans-affairs-launches-pilot-program-cvs-reduce-wait-times-veteran-care/

Richard M. Levine
I pushed for real dental care for all veterans in VA Health Care System to POTUS via Twitter and Facebook today. I also asked about payment for all veterans for no-VA hospital ambulance & ER visits. This is currently restricted to veterans in poverty. I keep telling people that since I have VA health care, just let me die on the street because I would be charged significantly if I had to have an ambulance and ER services at a… Read more »
Broady
Broady

Richard, thank you for your info about no-VA ER visits. I was under the believe that the VA would pick up the bill if you informed them about the no-VA ER visit with in 72 hours of going to the ER.

namnibor
namnibor
The VA will only pay for a non-VA ER visit *if* the VA determines that it was truly an emergency according to the VA, by the way, *and* if the VA determines it was truly Service Connected. Vets often get screwed by the VA even when having heart conditions where traveling to nearest VAMC would be almost impossible when writhing in pain when say a local hospital and ER is only say a few miles or less away. Say the… Read more »
Broady
Broady
namnibor the sad thing with all of this “We served this country”. No matter what we had to do to protect this country. The only thing we got in return is a thank you for your service & have a seat a PA will see you as soon as they can. I have access to 3 non-VA hospitals in my area that are a little closer then the VAMC. 2 of the 3 hospitals I wouldn’t send my worse enemy… Read more »
Windguy
Windguy
Naminbor – I’ve been told that the VA does pick up ER, assuming it’s a true emergency, but the injury doesn’t have to be service connected. The 72 hour call is very important. As for proof of emergency, the ER doc at a civilian location will determine that before sending off to the nearest VA hospital “when stable”. Our local podunk hospital practically has a hot line to the VA hospital 3.5 hours away. I asked the local hospital if… Read more »
Lem
Lem
If you go in for chest pain or stroke symptoms it is an emergency even if you are assessed and released when stable without admission. Have the ER call the VA immediately to assure they get paid. Same for the ambulance. Been there and done that. Don’t go to a clinic without calling for authorization first. Also have someone call the VA for you right after the ambulance is called or call yourself. They always say they can’t guarantee payment… Read more »
Ex va
Ex va
i would like to know what is classified minor illness or injury. What kind of quality of care is the Veterans receiving at these minute clinics? When I think of CVS, i think of how they mess up my prescriptions almost every month and how i stand in line for an hour. I do not think much of CVS and i can’t see where this benefits Veterans much. Do they actually see a real doctor? I am a Veteran and… Read more »
David Franklin
David Franklin

I suspect it will be a flu shot and blood pressure check. The only way the VA saves money is when Vets die and no longer clog up the system.

91Veteran
91Veteran
If you go to the web site linked in the article, you can see what they provide. It may be minor care, but it would still mean faster care for all by not having a veteran needing minor care waiting 5 hours to be one of the 3 vets a VA quack will see in a week. If it works as such. In some respects, it may help vets if they report other issues, CVS documents what is reported and… Read more »
Ex va
Ex va
@91Veteran, i can see your point with this cvs and being the ChoiceLite, LOL. I haven’t seen much from the va that i could say the va has the Veterans interest first in this program or effort. The va just wants to always serve their interest first. Veterans have some serious health issues and most Veterans i know usually don’t go unless they are seriously sick. Until the day comes when the all of the va puts the needs of… Read more »
Disabled Navy Veteran
Disabled Navy Veteran
I had my neighbor drive me to the VAMC ER because I had pneumonia and could not stop coughing. They told me I had a 6 hour wait or I could come back around midnight when it would be less crowded. I told my friend to take me to my Legacy HMO to the Urgent Care clinic and boom! I was seen and treated within a 1/2 hour of arrival. Why can’t the VA have Urgent Care clinics at their… Read more »
CorpsmanUp!
CorpsmanUp!
The military bases should be used for this purpose as well. Then you have the retention of medical personnel and continuity of care. The VA does not rec ognize any training the medics or Corpsman receive in the military. A number of claims filed by some veterans are from inadequate care while in the military, mainly because of medics and Corpsmen were literally on the job training. Some sucked at their job, some excelled. To make it to the SOG… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor
CVS just happens to be one of the most expensive retail drug stores when it comes to prescription costs and just about all else they offer when you compare to Walgreens for instance. When I say significant, my one RX that’s a very expensive 3-drug cocktail costing around $3,100. a **month for 30 tablets** at Walgreens, that exact same RX at CVS is about $350. MORE retail price even when Medicare Pt. D is applied. Why did I mention that?… Read more »
cj
cj

That’s no rant namnibor, that’s the damn truth. CVS, is incompetent, no wonder the VA likes them as an option. I agree also, there must be some financial gain to someone on the VA side of things.

Ex va
Ex va
@namnibor, they did studies on 24/7 urgent care clinics at Mayo Clinic, it took the pressure off the primary care clinics and the emergency room visits. It cut costs and employees took less time off work which costs less because of lost time. The wait lists were reduced in clinics. Do you think the va medical centers would even consider this option when there was financial evidence to support that it was a benefit to opening these clinic. NO!!! Anything… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran

That was my thought….which upper VA manager or congressman or crony holds stock in CVS.

The VA already admits they have a heavy load of vets being seen simply because they need prescriptions renewed. This will be a serious waste of time and money if those vets cannot get those routine prescriptions refilled.

Howard Potash
Howard Potash
I have been fighting since Jan. 2015 for my right arm and neck area as I passed out from my pain in my lower back… I just saw and had a MRI which showed C-spine advanced multilayered degenerated disc disease and arthropathy resulting in both severe central canal and neural foramal narrowing as described .. This along with discs in my lower back that are gone….lots of pain and locking up if I sit …. Both knees are replaced the… Read more »
Howard Potash
Howard Potash

make that the left arm an neck

David Franklin
David Franklin

I trust the young student doctors more than the older VA doctors. The new ones have state of the art training and are up to speed on all current medical practices. They operate under the paradigm of no pain to the patient. The older ones don’t mind your having pain.

namnibor
namnibor
The new hacks are the same as the old hacks. Only difference is the new hacks wear turbans or Muslim attire, which with the female new hacks, hides their sinister grin ear to ear lobe while their screwing with a Veteran. Maybe you have a great VA but it’s definitely not the norm. The new hacks are still hacks using this thing called ‘Evidence Based Medicine” which yanks medications that have worked for a Vet for Psych issues and/or pain… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor
Quacks and Shacks brings me to an uplifting song by the B-52’s called “Love Shack”, but redefined to VA standards to “Quack Shack”. “If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says Fifteen miles to the, Quack Shack, Quack Shack yeah I’m headin’ down the Atlanta highway Lookin’ for the love getaway Headed for the love getaway, love getaway I got me a car, it’s as big as a whale And we’re headin’ on down… Read more »
cj
cj

@namnibor:When you said “The new hacks are the same as the old hacks.” Immediatlely what came to mind was, the Who “We won’t get fooled again”
“Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss “

namnibor
namnibor
@cj- Great song by ‘The Who’. “Quack Shack” seemed rather fitting seeing how the just loves their telemedicine booths and they are indeed “Quack Shacks”, even when they outsource us out to so-called “Minute Clinics” that would not be able to handle an infected ingrown toenail, let alone a Veteran’s anxiety or PTSD or anything military service connected….but then again, they would have that thing called compassion and empathy and wait for it….accountability, unless of course, for a Vet to… Read more »
cj
cj

@namnibor: Oh hey, they both are great songs and fitting.

Chaplain Howard Potash
Chaplain Howard Potash

This is true, but the older ones mostly have combat medical treatment behind them….
They know what pain is to a combat vet…..
I was in the south east asia in the early 60s before the viet nam party……

Bill
Bill

Not the havks I have seen….10 years in the system not one vet MD. Mostly when I go to a vamc i wish i could have a translator and a civilian ambulance following me around.

Now at 60 years old I am bring told to fall out for sick call.

I have one question for Trump, is this what you meant ny draining the swamp.

James Gallegos
You know the VA will find away to twist the purpose of this program. Quick assessment 10 minutes, you breathing, next ! Yes you need to be seen by a doctor, go to the clerk and make an appointment, they said it would be a couple month’s ! Well that’s our policy and I did my job. I am just a monitor. But I need to be seen ! Not my job, tell someone who cares. Regulations shows I only… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor

Yes, I contacted Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio as well As Portman.

I like the “monitoring only for problems” mantra, as it’s exactly what the VAOIG and OSC does, they only monitor and give recommendations to the pukes and then they continue with the fraud and corruption just like a petulant 2 year old child.

James Gallegos
It really seems like many employees think nothing will ever be done to hold them accountable. I believe many employees will attack more veteran’s than ever if the new law does not pass. We have seen in the last few day’s where veterans were accused or beaten up and then charged as being disruptive. In both cases the veterans had to hire an attorney and found not guilty. I’m glad in a way that they charged the veterans. Why, because… Read more »
Lem
Lem

Great way to update. But does a veteran with over 50% have to wait for the VA pharmacy to fill his Rx for a cold medicine or does he get it without co-pay directly from CVS?

Good start to improvement.

91Veteran
91Veteran
I think this is a good idea at first glance, but have a number of questions about it. The services provided look routine or minor which would alleviate load at some hospitals…if routine or minor is what is needed. Will prescriptions be filled by the VA? How will any records generated tie back to the VA? If a vet goes in and CVS finds something more serious, will the VA expedite an appointment to see someone? Or will the vet… Read more »
Disgruntled Veteran
Disgruntled Veteran

I see this as a possible minor improvement. Any improvement, no matter how small, is a step forward. Hope that it succeeds – – – and we can get a rollout over here in Hawaii. Most minor things CAN be taken care of by either Walgreen’s, Wal-Mart, or CVS.

When I need a flu or tetanus shot – – – I do not go to the VA. May cost me out of (too already skinny) wallet. But I leave alive.

Jo3n

Agree, cvs is expensive. I am not sure how many Veterans need a quickie. How long before the VA bills us? They do keep surprise me.

yesIcomplainloudly
yesIcomplainloudly
I have looked at CVS many times in articles over the years for my own personal research I do in various health-care sectors (CVS being in pharmacy/retail large chains). CVS has poor management and people that work there do not like the company. I have viewed slide shows on the internet also, recently, of some of the most poorly run companies – no matter what sector – and CVS appears to have shitty management and the pharmacists don’t care to… Read more »
Ed Mays
Ed Mays

I guess I am lucky and content with va outpatient clinic here in brick, nj but the noisy zoo va hospital in East orange…not so much.

namnibor
namnibor

I have yet to experience a “quiet” VA hospital and yes, it’s often very much a zoo.

ANutterVet
ANutterVet
When I was born, I could breathe, then I met the VA, and now I’m smothered. Keep applying your bandages with poor adhesive qualities. VA, you’re so fucking smart, then start applying medical services and streamlining claims processes. To find out how, go back and read the fucking archives in this here, Ben’s blog. Stop feeding Veterans pieces of rotted veggies, we deserve meat. Strange Medical Care: Ever since being medically treated by the VA, and prescribed medications, NOT ONCE… Read more »
James Gallegos

Tell it to the Senate committee on veterans affairs. They are holding up the New law to fire federal employees that are harming veterans.

Flood their phone’s, emails and letters. Plus your senator.

Every day they delay means veteran’s will be harmed and the VA employees will get away with it.

Richard M. Levine
Richard M. Levine

I thought there were two other requirements for non-Hospital ER:
1. Veterans must be at poverty level.
2. Veterans must not have any other type of insurance including Medicare. Even if these refuse to pay, VA will not pay if you have any other health insurance.

This is what I read in VA documents. However, VA employees will contradict themselves regarding this. It’s another VA program full of possible roadblocks and possible expensive charges for the veteran.

91Veteran
91Veteran

The VA is required to provide medical care for service connected conditions regardless of whether the veteran has insurance or income level.

The VA has a web page that spells this out.

namnibor
namnibor
Scenario I could foresee as far as mindfuckery the VA will taint with this program with CVS: In order for a Veteran to be authorized to go to a non-VA emergency room, no matter if it’s a double fractured arm and it looks like a blood and flesh paper clip, you *must* first report-in to your local CVS and have them determine if it’s really an emergency or if something off the shelves and handy like Duct Tape, right there… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor

I still and always have my sense of humor, even when feeling like shit.

Ex va
Ex va

@namnibor, I believe in you… i mean your scenario.. LOL!!!

Richard M.Levine
Richard M.Levine
It’s just more subterfuge pushing the ball down the line like the dental insurance programs to say they provide dental plans. However, the plans are expensive. VA should hire dentists to handle all the veterans in the health care plan for nominal charge. They also must significantly ramp up the quality of the dental work. My guess is that you would find a nurse practitioner in the CVS, not a doctor. I understand that the VA is thinking of avoiding… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor
Most od the time these so-called “Minute Clinics”, whether it be CVS or Walgreens, it’s actually the pharmacist or pharmacist’s assistant that sees people. I am friends with my head pharmacist at Walgreens and he said they *never* have nurses of any kind…he either treats the sniffles or gives the flu shot or his assistant that’s training, will take care of those customers. It may be that CVS does things differently, it’s still a dilution of the promise we were… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran
I don’t know which VA you go to, but the VAs I have been to have used nurse pratictioners and physicians assistants as unsupervised primary care providers for many years. …and the result shows. I commented here before about going to a Choice appointment where the referral was to see a doctor. Several days before the appointment, I found out it would be with a nurse practioner, and tried changing the appointment. I then called the hospital and was told… Read more »
Lem
Lem
I didn’t. The one I saw showed me a cut out from a MRI reading manual showing minor arthritis of the spinous of the neck vertebrae instead of the previously read MRI showing “moderate stenosis and desiccated discs” stating all I had was minor arthritis. So it depends on the pay and benefits to NPs whether private or VA. If you don’t offer enough to get the best you won’t have the best. And it is the luck of the… Read more »
cj
cj
@Lem: Lem, what bothers me though, is the fact that they pay these low lying scum, called DR’s, pretty damn good. They surely, could never make this salary on their own, in the private sector. It is disgusting, wastefull, and has cost many veterans their very lives. These hacks go home each day, to their wonderfull lives, while the veterans they treat, go home to their miserable exsitence, or even worse. It needs to change quckly, with the stroke of… Read more »
Lem
Lem

If it is not the pay for Doctors then it is the treatment of them by supervisors. They don’t have to put up with shit or go against their assessments of patients because it might cost the VA some compensation. So the problem is oversight and what they are ask to do. And we get the crap because those are the only ones who will knuckle and make crappy reports.

cj
cj

@Lem: Agreed. Bottom line, only ones suffering is the veteran. Should not be this way.

Lem
Lem

I wonder if we put an advertisement in the AMA Journal asking for Physicians and Practitioners to send us affidavits about the reason they quit the VA (not specifying the reason), how many would say it was because they were pressed to diminish or deny existence of functional disabilities on Compensation and Pension Examinations?

cj
cj

@Lem: Lem, now that would be interesting. I think you have a great idea there, and, the results could be used as proof, in court cases.

Lem
Lem

Maybe we could get Ben to write a “survey” to see and tabulate the reasons physicians leave the VA. And then from that go to the physicians who say they were pressured to down play disabilities to make affidavits for use by attorneys.

I’ll work on an add for the AMA Journal for my case and see what happens.

91Veteran
91Veteran

I doubt a single doctor would sign such a thing.

They would have the feral governments penchant for retaliation on mind, with actions against their license.

cj
cj

@91Veteran: Wait, what? they have a license? Damn, I am always the last to know.

Jo3n

Just read where Cherokee Nation is suing drug firms for opioid epidemic. Wonder how far that will go.

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly
I see the VA is going all out and spending some bucks to impress the tribes around Taos Pueblo. Breaking out the Blackhawk helicopters for a visit. “Veterans Affairs Interim Deputy Secretary to visit Taos Pueblo” “Officials planning to fly-in aboard Blackhawk helicopters” The Taos News, April 21st, 2017 “http://www.taosnews.com/stories/veterans-affairs-official-to-speak-at-taos-pueblo,40007” “Leaders of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are scheduled to visit Taos Pueblo for an event today (April 21) from 4:15-6 p.m. Titled an “Intergovernmental Site Visit and Cultural… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

I wonder if they include the cost of the Blackhawks as travel expenses.

Or do they consider the cost as part of Health care services?

91Veteran
91Veteran

I wonder what they will think of US government officials flying in on a helicopter named after the war leader of another tribe.

lily
lily

I’m surprised the VA hasn’t caught on to what they’er doing in Canada to reduce wait times: deny healthy people yearly physicals. Canadian doctors said that wait times will be reduced if you don’t get a physical. They say it helps those who are sick get help faster.

namnibor
namnibor
Canada healthcare system as well as how Canada treats their Veterans has serious problems on the fringe. However the VA would take it even further by stating to only come to the VA if it’s an emergency and if that emergency can wait 6 months or more to be seen, done! Meanwhile. the same hacks at VA have even more free time to golf, rob, steal, fraud, corruption, and sex scandals….while Veterans still are dying. The VA may also save… Read more »
Jo3n
I can’t remember ever being scheduled for a physical, yearly or otherwise. Isn’t the issue that we were promised good medical care, and very few of us receive that. Seems that they keep me dancing to the beat of a different drummer each time I go. A lot of the issues I am dealing with, are not, and will not have any effect on anything. Sometimes, I forget my priorities, and am spending hours, days, even years on VA curves.… Read more »
cj
cj
@Jo3n: Today a perfect example. I thought, a day to relax. Nope, knock on door, dogs going wild, quck get dressed like a madman, run to the front door, and sign for my narcotics. I hate having to wait, and worse, not knowing when they will show up. Even worse, they show up while your at the damn VA. It’s the weekend, and you are out of meds. It’s going to be a very long weekend. Why is it any… Read more »
Lem
Lem

If you have a treatment for anything you are supposed to be scheduled for an annual physical by your PC. You may have had one without realizing it because it is often not stated as being a adjunct part of a visit. You would have had blood drawn, a chest X-ray, urine test as well as any follow-ups on current conditions.

If over 50 you’ll be scheduled for a colonoscopy every 5 years with follow ups if necessary.

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly
I see that out of 494,428 pending applications for VA healthcare that require the VA to notify the Veteran by mail about the need for additional information to complete the applications. The VA is about to shred 229,366 of those applications. I guess that storage space for pending applications in Hot Springs just is not big enough to continue handle the storage problem. I wonder if they have phones and computers installed there yet so they can start processing some… Read more »
Jo3n
@Cj, outside the box, there’s some humor. Inside the box, the waiting, the frustration, then alas, you get a package. Then, the anxiety of opening the package……wait….wait…., oh thank God, it’s them. For a while, my psych meds were short every time. They always said, ” no, that couldn’t happen, we have strict quantity control “. They lie.. Am I to find comfort knowing other Veterans are as suffering? Don’t think so, but it’s something I need to know. Thanks… Read more »
ALL the VA is laughing at us
ALL the VA is laughing at us

The only think outside the box about the VA are us veterans. LOL

Timothy Erwin Ramos
Now how about getting us items that are deemed Medically Necessary by multiple VA Doctors, being refused by VA, breaking following laws: Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996, Public Law 104- 262, significantly changed the eligibility of veterans to receive hospital care and outpatient medical services, including prosthetics, medical equipment, and supplies. For complete details on eligibility rules and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) enrollment system, reference should be made to the regulations governing VA’s enrollment system and medical… Read more »
Richard K. Levine
Richard K. Levine

I see from the MinuteClinic website of CVS:

MinuteClinic, the walk-in medical clinic inside select CVS/pharmacy® stores, is the largest provider of retail health care in the United States.

Our family nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide convenient, quality medical care to adults and children. We’re open every day, evenings and weekends, with no appointment needed. And we accept most insurance plans.

Never make the mistake of thinking the VA is there for VETS
Never make the mistake of thinking the VA is there for VETS
I just read through all these comments and honestly. I couldn’t stop laughing. The POTUS doesn’t care what you put on Twitter or Facebook. Your Senators do not care how many times you call. They simply have a staffer reply nicely to shut you up. Yeah, sure we’ll go right to the white house. LOL Doctors at the VA get paid probably half of what they make in the civilian world. Why do they work at the VA then? Easy,… Read more »
Never make the mistake of thinking the VA is there for VETS
Never make the mistake of thinking the VA is there for VETS

OIG – good one!

All VA oversight programs (like the OIG program etc) are ran by the VA. LOL duuuuh
They ultimately ALL have the same boss as the rest of the VA. Sure they have findings. But the findings ALL GO TO THE SAME BOSS.

wpDiscuz