Some vets can go to CVS 'MinuteClinics' for minor illnesses

This sentiment is echoed by TriWest, one of VA's partners in administering the Veterans Choice Program. Their visit would then be sent to the VA for follow ups.

Democrats have criticized Republican politicians for wanting to privatize veterans' care. The program is a new effort created to alleviate the exorbitant wait times veterans face when seeking care at VA facilities.

The current Veterans Choice Program (VCP) restricts veterans from seeking outside care unless they have to wait more than 30 days for an appointment. "Thanks to the leadership of CVS Health and the VA, Phoenix's almost 120,000 Veterans will now be served at 24 different area MinuteClinic locations for minor health care services".

The innovative program introduces and access points for receiving care.

Veterans can compare that data with other facilities in their area. Increasing access and availability of care is crucial.

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The VA has launched an online Access and Quality Tool providing patient wait time and quality of care data, which the department is calling "the most transparent and easy to understand wait time and quality data website in the health-care industry".

Maureen McCarthy, the Phoenix VA's chief of staff, welcomed the new CVS partnership but acknowledged a potential challenge in providing seamless coordination to avoid gaps in care.

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

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

Some ailing veterans can now use their federal health care benefits at CVS "MinuteClinics" to treat minor illnesses and injuries, under a pilot program announced Tuesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs. "We're looking forward to working with the Phoenix VA Health Care System team to ensure that their patients have additional options for high-quality acute care at times and locations that are convenient for them".