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CVS MinuteClinic expands veterans’ access to care

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Sen. John McCain to inaugurate partnership with VA in Phoenix

MinuteClinic sign closeup_featured

PHOENIX — CVS Health’s MinuteClinic is taking part in a public-private alliance to expand access to health care services for veterans in the Phoenix area.

Under an initiative by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Phoenix VA Health Care System (HCS), the TriWest Healthcare Alliance and CVS MinuteClinic, nearly 120,000 veterans enrolled in the Phoenix VA can be referred through the Veterans Choice Program to 24 Phoenix-area MinuteClinic retail health clinics for the treatment of minor illnesses and injuries.

The collaboration is being announced Tuesday afternoon in an event at the MinuteClinic inside the CVS Pharmacy at 1750 East Broadway Rd. in Tempe, Ariz. On hand will be Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and representatives from the VA, the Phoenix VA HCS and CVS Health/MinuteClinic.

“This new public-private collaboration between CVS, TriWest and the VA is an important step forward in enhancing choice and flexibility in veterans’ health care,” McCain said in a prepared statement. “I’ve long believed that veterans in need of routine health care services should not have to wait in line for weeks to get an appointment when they can visit community health centers like MinuteClinic to receive timely and convenient care.”

To improve coordination of care, the partnership will share electronic health information. MinuteClinic visit summaries will be sent to a veteran’s VA primary care doctor, ensuring that the physician has the clinical information for follow-up services in the VA, if necessary.

CVS MinuteClinic noted that this information-sharing practice proved effective in a similar program launched last year with the Palo Alto VA Health Care System.

“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 with minor illnesses and injuries,” CVS MinuteClinic chief medical officer Tobias Barker stated. “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.”

According to Maureen McCarthy, chief of staff for the Phoenix VA HCS, the collaboration with MinuteClinic gives veterans more options and access points for receiving care. Veterans who call the Phoenix VA HCS help line can be referred to one of the 24 MinuteClinics in the Phoenix area for treatment of common acute illnesses.

“We are thrilled to have this new partnership for Phoenix-area veterans. Increasing access and availability of care is crucial,” McCarthy commented. “In sending veterans out into the community, however, we are always conscious of providing the best care coordination we can. We are working to leverage technology to share important clinical information and ensure care continuity.”

The MinuteClinics participating in the partnership are located in Cave Creek, Chandler (three), Gilbert (two), Glendale, Goodyear, Laveen, Mesa (three), Peoria, Phoenix (six), Queens Creek, Scottsdale (two), Surprise and Tempe, Ariz.

“Our No. 1 priority is getting veterans access to care when and where they need it. The launch of this partnership will enable VA to provide more care for veterans in their neighborhoods,” stated Baligh Yehia, deputy undersecretary for health for community care for VA. “Partnerships between VA and private providers are essential to delivering care in the diverse geographies where veterans live,” he added.

TriWest is a VA partner in administering the Veterans Choice Program. “TriWest values greatly the partnership with community providers who share our commitment to providing veterans timely, high-quality and convenient health care,” commented TriWest president and chief executive officer David McIntyre.

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