VA Now Pays For CVS “MinuteClinics” For Minor Illnesses

74

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/

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Richard M. Levine
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 non-VA hospital. And since the nearest VA hospital is about 35 miles away, I might die in the long trip there, while there is a non-VA hospital less than a mile from my house.

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 heart condition was service connected for whatever reason and the Vet falls in his home which causes heart palpitations like a heart attack and the Vet or spouse calls 911 and take to local non-VA ER…and the Vet or spouse calls within 72 hours; the VA has been known to not pay because in this instance, blaming the fall and not the service connected heart condition or some nonsense analogy to this scenario.
The VA takes a huge chunk of taxpayer $$$$ but the % return and benefit to we Veterans is akin to a scam Ponzi scheme charity that only pays out 1% and uses the rest for Bahamas Momma’s Resort & Spa. 🙂

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 too. I would rather go an additional 30 minutes north to UT Southwestern or a Baylor (hospital #3) hospital 20 minutes south then go to the VAMC. This is when I’m forced to use my medicare for good service.

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 the VA pays – she stated yes – a month slower than anyone, but they do pay. They’ve been doing it for years. Oh she also said that even though they call the VA in the first couple hours, but the veteran and/or spouse/family member need to call in as well. I’ll dig deeper on the service connected issue. Thanks

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 but if you have made the call it is very unlikely payment will be denied. I was only denied when I took an urgent care to the clinic instead of the ER because I didn’t have a driver to go to the VA prior to being authorized Choice. $150.00 out of pocket for me.

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 would not trust my healthcare to CVS. I guess this is better than no clinical care???? I feel that Veterans are entitled to see actual physicians and clinics like the rest of the population does in the private sector. Veterans are sicker than the rest of the population in this country. Veterans have more disabilities, diseases and disorders because of the dangerous job we have them do. I think the va is trying to save a buck by having Veterans utilizing this healthcare.

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 gives a referral to the VA. That may actually force the VA to provide help for reported problems.

On the other hand, this may become Choice Lite, with vets encouraged to go to CVS first rather than going to the VA for things needing a doctor.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, or whether it just becomes a cheap version of Choice delaying a vet from getting proper care.

But hey! It will be a nice excuse for the VA claiming their wait times “for seeing a provider” have dropped. Never mind CVS couldn’t help the vet and the vet is still waiting on seeing a VA doctor anyway.

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 Veterans first, i guess i will have trust in the va again. At one time i did trust the va and now i can’t believe i ever did. When you see the truth firsthand then it changes your views. You are not ignorant anymore.

I do not believe wait times will be improved in the va in any capacity because these disgusting damn doctors/providers that create the waitlists with the schedulers and scheduling managers because they don’t want to work. If that was to be changed with real clinical productivity/performance there would not be a waitlists in the first place. Performance appraisals mean absolutely nothing in the va system. They are not based on performance. If the va held these lazy doctors/providers to the performance system they would all be fired. There are directives and laws, the va simply refuses to use them against their senior employees. The doctors/providers don’t want to treat sick disabled Veterans and choose to neglect and abuse them. Hey va get rid of the dead weight they stink up the place.

We had no waitlists in the clinic i worked in. It is possible to have no waitlists. Because of this we became the service line target because we were doing what they did not want to do. That was serving the Veteran and helping them the best we could.

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 hospitals? It will cost more in the long run to outsource to CVS.

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 groups, you will not past the threshold as a suck ass Corpsman.
There is bad medicine everywhere, the VA is the command center for all bad medicine and a disgrace to the cadeuse.
If war hits this homeland, you will see the disorganization of the VA in full force.

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? Because CVS’s “Minute Clinic” is not unique because Walgreens has had such a thing for a while and considering many moons ago Walgreens actually used to run the VA’s pharmacy, you would think the VA would have gone with Walgreens for that reason and also because CVS is so expensive.

Another thing to note is these “Minute Clinics” cannot do anything extensive and these “Minute Clinics” are more akin to your nurses office when you were in High School….very, very minor stuff and very often people are told they need to go see their primary Dr. if it’s anywhere outside the scope of what they actually do…it’s more of a “sniffles clinic”, nothing more and nowhere comprehensive for Veterans.

Now, I am all for anything that circumnavigates the VA’s long wait times, but I have to wonder why the VA would go with the most expensive retail pharmacy chain, then there’s the question of how they are going to make the connection to the Veteran’s health record and providers. Will it also be like Choice where the VA does not pay the damn bill and the Vet gets stuck in collections or worse?

Also, odd to note, but in my major metro city, and even the CVS that’s only a half mile away from me, are the retail pharmacies getting hit by armed robbers repeatedly…not any other pharmacy chain, only CVS, which makes me question why crooks find CVS an easy target? I am talking about the pharmacies getting robbed for drugs or thugs watching parking lots outside CVS and then carjacking a leaving customer after the thug’s accomplice in the store just observed the customer picking up a RX at pharmacy…I am saying the VA is essentially suggesting an unsafe place for Veterans…so if you eventually use CVS watch your six, it’s a jungle out there.
Who owned stock amongst the VA upper management in CVS that’s benefiting from this CVS arrangement?

How about the VA having 24/7 Urgent Cares at all VAMC’s? Or would that hurt the butthurt AFGE, requiring the cuddly wuddly VA employees to work night shifts? Call me a cynic but I worry when the VA loves an arrangement with another outside company because the VA always benefits while Vets continue to suffer, but hope to be wrong in this case.

Rant Out.

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 to improve the process they do not want because overall they do not want to treat Veterans because that is a cost.

The va medical centers want the money they get out of Washington, D.C. They love the money they get out of congress, just want to mismanage it so it cannot benefit the Veteran.

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 right in 1996 and the left in 2005 both eyes are implanted lens due to trama cataracts in 1999..
I do not trust the medical students to work on me

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 relief…how the fuck is that “better new hacks”?
The new hacks also get trained as residents at the VA by the old hacks. Last in class hacks. The #1 reason the new hacks choose the VA to work at because of absolutely no accountability, no malpractice insurance, no worries if you kill a Vet or an experiment goes terribly wrong.
The new VA hacks from India, Africa and Middle East have their medical residency waived in order to work at the VA because the same hacks would have to take an additional 2 or 3 years of graduate college to meet standard USA medical non-VA standards.

The new hacks are still quacks. Except the quack in hard to understand quacks from their homeland and mud shack.

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 to the Quack Shack
I got me a Chrysler, it seats about twenty
So hurry up and bring your jukebox money

The Quack Shack is a little old place where
We can get together
Quack Shack baby
A Quack Shack baby
Love Shack, baby Love Shack
Love Shack, baby Love Shack
Love Shack, baby Love Shack
Love Shack, baby Love Shack

Sign says, woo, stay away fools
‘Cause love rules at the Quack Shack
Well it’s set way back in the middle of a field
Just a funky old shack and I gotta get back
Glitter on the mattress
Glitter on the highway
Glitter on the front porch
Glitter on the hallway

The Quack Shack is a little old place where
We can get together
Love Shack, baby
Love Shack, baby
Love Shack, that’s where it’s at
Love Shack, that’s where it’s at

Huggin’ and a-kissin’, dancin’ and a-lovin’
Wearin’ next to nothing ’cause it’s hot as an oven
The whole shack shimmies
Yeah the whole shack shimmies
The whole shack shimmies when everybody’s movin’ around
And around and around and around
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’ baby
Folks linin’ up outside just to get down
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’ baby
Funky little shack
Funky little shack

Hop in my Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale
And it’s about to set sail
I got me a car, it seats about twenty, so come on
And bring your jukebox money

The Love Shack is a little old place where
We can get together
Love Shack baby
A Love Shack baby
Love Shack, baby Love Shack
Love Shack, baby Love Shack
Love Shack, baby Love Shack (oh baby that’s where it’s at)
Love Shack, baby Love Shack (baby that’s where it’s at)

Bang bang bang on the door baby!
Knock a little louder baby!
Bang bang bang on the door baby!
I can’t hear you
Bang bang bang on the door baby!
Knock a little louder sugar!
Bang bang bang on the door baby!
I can’t hear you

Bang bang bang on the door baby, knock a little louder
Bang bang on the door baby, bang bang!
On the door baby, bang bang!
On the door, bang bang!
On the door baby, bang bang!

You’re what?
Tin roof
rusted!

Quack Shack, baby Love Shack!
Love Shack, baby Love Shack!
Quack Shack, baby Love Shack!
Love Shack, baby Love Quack Shack!”

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 utilize a ‘Minute Clinic” they have to sign a waiver to prosecute and forfeiture of accountability…provided by the VA with a side of MRSA and C-DIFF as garnishes. 🙂

Yep, in a mood. But I have one HELL of a clean apartment now. 🙂

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
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 have to monitor you, not treat you.

But I am sick, I demand I be seen I’m ill, oh you demand to be seen hu, ok now your insistance to be seen is disruptive behavior and if you don’t leave now, I will be forced to call the VA police.

Now do you still want to insist on being seen ! Remember they ruff You up or will be reported as being disruptive.

Do you have to make an appointment to access this new program ?

Last question, how many of you have contacted you senators or called the veterans committee on veterans affairs and expressed your concerns about them holding up the New law to fire federal employees that are harming veterans.

Action is louder than just word’s.

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
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 it’s proof on how VA employees will lie about veteran’s being disruptive, when it’s the employees themselves that are being disruptive.

At least these veteran’s had their day in court.

Many veterans do not have their day in court, the VA has it’s own judicial system or think they do. They are the accuser Judge Jury and executioner and the veterans have no say so about it.

The only way to get the VA into court is for the VA to go after the veterans. When they hurt veteran’s, tuff shit !

I’m glad you contacted someone. The main one’s that need to be contacted is the chairman of the veterans committee. They are holding up the New law or should say one member is holding out.

I hope you and I are not the only one’s that have taken action. This new Bill is too important to not speak out about. We veteran’s have a chance for real change.

And we deserve nothing less !

Thanks

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 have to wait weeks to be seen by the VA anyway?

Again, at first glance, it looks like it would be a good program depending on how it is run. If CVS can’t do much beyond providing flu shots, then I see it as nothing but an excuse to make it look like wait times are decreasing.

If the program works, it kind of puts the lie to only the VA being able to care for vets.

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
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 work there. I know ordinary people (customers) who have quit using CVS as their pharmacy because of a variety of reasons too long to list here because they suck in so many ways for customers. But the company does turn a profit. The management sucks in running it, that’s all.
So once again, “the Shulk” doesn’t seem to understand what the fuck he is doing. In fact, the fucking “Shulk” is getting tiring to me already with his redundancy of poor choices. I said some months ago that he will be as bad or worse than Douche-Bag Bob (remember him?) and I will stick to that as I am watching the “Shulk ” in action.
Actually, CVS is a good fit for the VA in a very fucked-up way. Both have poor management, CVS does make a hefty profit, the VA robs money too from taxpayers.
By the way, “the Shulk” seems to have adapted the saying “This is a system worth saving”. His is a face worth slapping – that Shulk guy.

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 HAS ANY PHYSICIAN ASKED ME HOW THE MEDICATIONS WERE WORKING FOR ME. Not once.

I’ll believe that the VA is definitely in the process of radically changing when; [1.] VA Executives announce, have written, and published a new mandated mission statement, that clearly defines the areas in which the VA is going to overhaul, reform, and reorganize its medical and claims services for Veterans, [2.] the new directives, guidelines, policies, regulations, and rules will be echoed by Senior Level Management in all the VA Agency Branches, [3.] a Letter of Notification that the VA is implementing new commands, decrees, and edicts is sent to all Veterans that are enrolled in the VA, [4.] the new instructions are announced on the VA’s website, and [5.] President Trump holds a Press Conference, and declares that the VA is being completely reformed and reorganized for the sole benefit of righteously treating Veterans, due to the VA’s negligence of doing so over the past 80+ years.

I’m tired of a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. The top priority Brothers and Sisters, is that as we wait and wait, we’re losing Veterans from a reported suicide rate of 22+ a day [most likely underreported]. This doesn’t include the Veterans that have lost their lives, outside of battle, due to malpractice, corruption, and saving money.

*The VA needs to change for the benefit of taking care of those that bore the fight; that would be the Veterans of the United States.

*The forgotten segment of our society; Veterans of the United States.

*Current Common Core for the VA – VA employees sleep well because there are no accountabilities, no meaningful investigations, no charges will be filed, no worries about jail time, and those VA employees caught up in any scandal will be relocated so that things can cool off. VA, your still the same. No reforming, no reorganizing.

James Gallegos
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 in the CVS could be used and on your way.

Next. CVS will become “Choice Champions”.

CVS goes bankrupt because the VA’s computers infect the company while some VA hack was data-mining CVS and skimming $$$ electronically…

It could happen. (at least the duct tape part)

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 doctor’s visits by having you see a nurse or nurse practitioner, maybe no physician’s assistant. This would lower the quality of their already substandard medical care.

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 told when enlisting…

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 she worked closely with the doctor I was referred to, and the doctor wouldn’t be able to see me until May.

I kept the appointment, and was glad I did. This nurse practitioner is much more professional and thorough than most VA doctors I’ve seen.

That she is stunningly beautiful is extra.

I found the difference between a private sector nurse practitioner and what they call a nurse practitioner in the VA is massive. And a serious disservice to those NPs in the private sector.

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 draw whether the VA or private facility you are going to has a director that knows how to get the best and keep them. And it takes time to build a team that is the best.

So if the facility, private or VA, doesn’t have the best look for another.

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 a pen, not all this drawn out meetings, and political appointments, and udder BS.

Tump made promises, as did the military, when you signed your name. KEEP THOSE PROMISES, it is all we are asking. This batttle should not exsist in the first place. Our battle, is actually with the AFGE/SES, they are the ones responsible for all of this crap we are going through. Can’t fire the loonitic, he has representation. We are suppose to have even better representation, called the US Government. Just goes to show who is really in charge in DC.

My last appointment, I payed close attention to all the AFGE/SES workers. All very well groomed, dressed, and all have been there from the beginning of time. I can only imagine what their retirement package must look like. Just like the auto industry, I bet the cost of retirement, has outgrown the cost of ongoing operations. All that tax money going to the unions and bloated salaries, instead of where it was meant to go, to treat veterans. DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!

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
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 Tour,” the visit is scheduled to include remarks by U.S. Interim Deputy Secretary Scott Blackburn. According to an itinerary, Blackburn and other VA officials are slated to arrive aboard Blackhawk helicopters that will land in the Pueblo’s pasture, followed by a traditional procession through the tribe’s historic village plaza.”

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 $$ by changing the “As a crow flies rules” to be replaced with “As a sick flying monkey flies”.

Jo3n
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. Now, first go to CVS, then to Clinic, then to VHA. May take months for a sore throat. Even though, for a band aid, or yearly vaccine, it may work out. Just looks to me like another obstacle. As long as they don’t make us go to CVS before we go to Clinic. Why can’t we pick up all our scripts at CVS? Wouldn’t that save money? It would be nice not waiting for the mail day after day, because they are late.

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 new policy, just adds to the daily fuckery, instead of relieving some of it? I hear you my friend.

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 of those applications at the new national processing and call center in Hot Springs.

“Almost half of VA’s enrollment letters to veterans never got delivered in 2016”, by Pete Kasperowicz, Washington Examiner | Apr 21, 2017

“http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/almost-half-of-vas-enrollment-letters-to-veterans-never-got-delivered-in-2016/article/2620907”

Jo3n
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 Cj..

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
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 benefits package. They are published in Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Sections 17.36 – 17.38. Generally all veterans enrolled in the VA health care system are eligible for all needed prosthetics, medical equipment, and supplies.

NOTE: d. Major Medical & Special Equipment Committee (MMSEC). A committee composed of medical, therapy, engineering and allied health personnel who are knowledgeable about prosthetic equipment and rehabilitation responsible for reviewing requests and determining medical need for major items of prosthetic equipment. 
ee. Major Medical Special and/or Experimental Appliances. Any newly developed or unusual non-contract orthopedic appliance, therapeutic or rehabilitative device, regardless of cost, which has not been previously issued by the health care facility. )

November 2, 2000 1. PURPOSE 
VHA HANDBOOK 1173.1 
ELIGIBILITY 
This Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Handbook establishes uniform and consistent national policy and procedures for determination of eligibility of veteran beneficiaries for prosthetic services. 
2. ELIGIBILITY 
a. General. The Veterans’ Health 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 benefits package. They are published in Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Sections 17.36 – 17.38. Generally all veterans enrolled in the VA health care system are eligible for all needed prosthetics, medical equipment, and supplies. Certain veterans are eligible for needed prosthetics, medical equipment, and supplies even though not enrolled. The two most significant groups of veterans who do not need to be enrolled are: 
(1) Veterans needing prosthetics, medical equipment, and supplies for a service connected disability, and 
(2) veterans with a service connected disability rated at least 50 percent. 

Laws:
1. Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Sections 17.36 – 17.38
2. Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Sections 17.36 – 17.38. 
3. VHA HANDBOOK 1173.1 
4. Reform Act of 1996, Public Law 104- 262, 
       Veterans’ Health Care Eligibility Reform Act                                    
       1996, Public Law 104- 262, 
        Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)             
        Sections 17.36 – 17.38. 
1. Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Sections 17.36 – 17.38. 
2. Title 38 CFR 17.115. 
        k. Contracting Officer’s Technical
        Representative 
And more…

They just seem to be able to break laws at will with no reprocusions. Sad.now I finally have a suit after fighting over 2 years.

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, they are either students or they are doctors who can’t make it in the fast paced civilian medicine world.
Do you really think anything in washington, or the VA is going to change? Absolutely not! While you are ranting on about this specific thing about your issue, they are just SMILING and WAITING for you to leave. Because they have the whole place wired for themselves. I worked for the Gov’t for 25 years and its all the same.

This CVS piece will eventually suffer the same fate as everything else, for instance Veterans Choice. Horrible, terrible, bloated providing nothing (maybe a few good stories) to us vets. Heck yeah sign Veterans Choice funding again, for 10 times more money. Nothing changed about it. Same old bull. Just can hire a ton more managers.

HERE is the most accurate and useful quote posted here —

*Current Common Core for the VA – VA employees sleep well because there are no accountabilities, no meaningful investigations, no charges will be filed, no worries about jail time, and those VA employees caught up in any scandal will be relocated so that things can cool off. VA, your still the same. No reforming, no reorganizing.

If you EVER think the VA is there for Vets, you’ve already lost. Everytime you go, every employee you speak too. They just want u to go away. they have the place wired…….

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.