WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health has applauded the enactment of the VA Mission Act, which enhances veteran access to community care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The new law builds upon several successful programs CVS Health has implemented in coordination with the Department to increase veterans’ access to health care services through walk-in care from qualifying community providers.
“We are proud to have worked closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs on the local and national level to ensure our walk-in clinic programs deliver high-quality care to veterans when and where they need it,” said Thomas Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer, CVS Health. “The new law provides opportunities to serve even more of our nation’s veterans across the country, increasing access, reducing wait times for minor illnesses, coordinating patient care, and integrating information technology. We look forward to continuing to partner with the VA and to sharing the experiences we have garnered through our work together.”
In 2016, MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, partnered with the VA Palo Alto Health Care System on a program to provide increased access to health care services for veterans. In April 2017, the Phoenix VA Health Care System replicated this program through the VA’s Choice program, enabling veterans to access 23 MinuteClinic locations in the Phoenix area. The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System also recently initiated a similar program with MinuteClinic in Santa Clarita, California.
Through the CVS Health-Veterans Administration programs, veterans’ first point of contact is a VA-run triage help line. When clinically appropriate, VA nurses are able to refer veterans to participating MinuteClinic locations for treatment of minor illnesses and injuries. Additionally, MinuteClinic has integrated information technology with the VA, allowing MinuteClinic to make patient data available to the VA via the eHealth Exchange, so the VA has the full record of any medical services provided during the MinuteClinic visit. These programs have served over 2,300 veterans since 2016, most commonly treating conditions such as ear and eye infections, sinus infections, and cough. Veterans’ average in-clinic wait time is under 20 minutes and in quality surveys, veterans have reported a very positive experience.
With more than 1,100 locations in 33 states and the District of Columbia, MinuteClinic provides access to convenient, affordable, and high-quality care for acute, chronic, and wellness needs such as vaccinations and preventative screenings. MinuteClinic sees patients on a walk-in basis and is open seven days a week – often with extended hours – including evenings and holidays.