Urgent Care - Community Care
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Urgent Care

VA offers urgent care services to eligible Veterans at VA medical facilities or at in‑network urgent care clinics closer to home.

Use VA’s urgent care benefit to treat minor injuries and illnesses that are not life-threatening, such as colds, strep throat, sprained muscles, and skin and ear infections.

To make sure you have a smooth experience, please review the information on this page to understand the requirements and limitations associated with this benefit.

To access an in-network urgent care provider, you must:

  • Be eligible.
  • Go to an in-network urgent care provider.
  • Pay a VA copayment (if applicable) after the visit, which is billed by VA separately.

UPDATE

Many VA and community provider locations have changing hours and services. Please call before visiting any location to ask about getting help by phone or video.

To find an in-network pharmacy:

Use the TriWest Pharmacy Locator to find a pharmacy to fill your urgent care prescription in all states or territories EXCEPT CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV.

Use the CVS/Caremark Pharmacy Locator to find a pharmacy to fill your urgent care prescription in CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV.

BEFORE YOU GO!

Print the Urgent Care Assistance Card (or have it viewable on your mobile device) and take it with you to your urgent care visit and in-network pharmacy. When using the card, identify the correct region in which you are seeking care.

Find Your Region

CCN Regional Map

If you have difficulty receiving care or filling your urgent care prescription, call the appropriate phone number below for the region in which you are located.

Region 1: 888-901-6609

Regions 2-6: 866-620-2071

Eligibility

To be eligible for urgent care, Veterans must:

  • Be enrolled in the VA health care system AND
  • Have received care through VA from either a VA or community provider within the past 24 months

To check eligibility, contact your local VA medical facility OR call 844-MyVA311 (844-698-2311), select option 1, and then select option 1 again.

Covered Services

The urgent care benefit covers services provided by urgent care centers and walk-in retail health clinics such as:

  • Colds, minor injuries, skin and ear infections, pink eye, strep throat, and more.
  • Diagnostic services like X-rays, some lab testing and some medications (with limitations).
  • Therapeutic vaccines when these are required for the treatment of certain covered conditions.

IMPORTANT: Urgent Care Is Not a Replacement for Preventive or Emergency Care

Urgent care is not a replacement for a Veteran’s preventive health care or emergency care. Veterans should work with their primary care provider for this type of care. While urgent care is a convenient benefit for nonemergent symptoms, Veterans should always consider talking with or seeing their primary care provider if they are concerned the urgent care location will not understand the complexities of their medical history or medications.

Veterans should remember the following when considering urgent care:

  • When in doubt about your health condition or symptoms, Veterans should always seek a higher level of care, such as care from an emergency department. This is because they may have symptoms related to a serious health condition that an urgent care provider may not be able to adequately address.
  • If Veterans have a medical emergency, they should immediately seek care at the nearest emergency room. A medical emergency is an injury, illness, or symptom so severe that a prudent layperson reasonably believes that delay in seeking immediate medical attention would be hazardous to life or health.
  • If you believe your life or health is in danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department immediately.

Differences Between Urgent and Emergency Care

Urgent Care
Urgent care consists of medical services provided for minor illnesses or injuries that are not life-threatening such as strep throat, pink eye, or influenza.

Emergency Care
Emergency care is inpatient or outpatient hospital services that are necessary to prevent death or serious impairment of health such as severe chest pain; seizures or loss of awareness; heavy uncontrollable bleeding; or moderate to severe burns.

IMPORTANT: VA can only pay for care an eligible Veteran receives from a community emergency department in certain circumstances and under specific conditions. For more information, visit the Emergency Care page.


Flu Shots

There are several ways to get a no-cost flu vaccination, some of which are covered under the urgent care benefit:

  • VA Medical Facilities. VA offers free flu vaccinations at all VA medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics. Veterans simply need to ask their primary care provider for the vaccination when they visit.
  • Walgreens. Veterans enrolled with VA health care can receive a no-cost vaccination through the Retail Immunization Care Coordination program. The program is available at more than 9,600 Walgreens pharmacies nationally. Veterans need to present their Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) and another form of photo ID to receive a vaccination.

    Learn more about the VA/Walgreen's Retail Immunization Care Coordination Program.

    To find the nearest Walgreens, call 800-925-4733 or use the Walgreens Store Locator.

  • Community Care Network (CCN). Veterans enrolled in VA health care and located in CCN Regions 1, 2 and 3 can receive their vaccine at any CVS Caremark through March 31, 2020. Caremark is the CCN in‑network pharmacy provider. No appointment is required. Eligible Veterans can visit a CVS Caremark in‑network pharmacy, tell the pharmacist they receive care at a VA medical facility and show at least one government-issued photo ID to get the shot.

    For details about Regions 1, 2, and 3 CVS Caremark in‑network pharmacy locations and hours,
    visit http://www.vacommunitycare.com/flushot.

  • Urgent Care In‑network Locations. Veterans can receive a vaccine, paid for by VA, at an in‑network urgent care location. The shot must be administered in conjunction with a condition requiring urgent care. However, Veterans residing in CCN Region 1 can receive a stand-alone flu vaccine at an in‑network urgent care location. Region 1 states are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.
Find a Provider

To find an in-network urgent care provider:

  • Use the VA Facility Locator
  • Contact your local VA medical facility, or
  • Call 877-881-7618 to reach the OCC National Contact Center

 

Types of Urgent Care Locations

There are two types of urgent care network locations: Retail and Urgent.

  • Retail locations include a walk-in health clinic (other than an office), urgent care facility, pharmacy, or independent clinic located within a retail operation. Reasons why Veterans would seek care at a retail location include treatment of an uncomplicated illness such as a sore throat or earache.
  • Urgent locations include an office or a clinic whose purpose is to diagnose and treat illness or injury for unscheduled, ambulatory patients seeking immediate medical attention (aside from emergency rooms). Reasons why Veterans would seek care at a urgent location include treatment of more pressing illnesses or injuries that are not life-threatening like splinting, casting, lacerations, or wound treatment.

To find an in-network urgent care provider, use the VA Facility Locator, contact your local VA medical facility, or call the OCC National Contact Center.

OCC National Contact Center: 877-881-7618

IMPORTANT: VA can only pay for urgent care if the provider is part of the VA contracted network. Veterans may be required to pay the full cost of care if they go to an out-of-network urgent care provider. By law, VA cannot pay claims for urgent care rendered to a Veteran from providers that are not part of the VA contracted network.

Get Care

Bring a valid, government-issued photo ID to the in-network urgent care location/pharmacy.

When arriving at an in-network urgent care provider:

  • Inform the provider you would like to use your VA urgent care benefit to receive care.
    NOTE: The urgent care provider will confirm your eligibility.
  • Ask and verify the urgent care provider is part of the VA contracted network. The urgent care provider may have a sign posted that indicates they are part of VA’s contracted network.
  • DO NOT pay a copayment at the time of urgent care visit.

If, upon arrival, you have difficulty receiving care or filling your urgent care prescription, call the appropriate phone number below for the region in which you are located.

Region 1: 888-901-6609

Regions 2-6: 866-620-2071

Region 1 map|Region 2 map|Region 3 map|Region 4 map|Region 5 map|Region 6 map

If the provider is not part of the VA contracted network, Veterans have several options:

  • Agree to pay the full cost of care and receive care immediately
  • Go to a different urgent care provider that is part of VA’s contracted network
  • Go to the nearest VA medical facility
  • Go to the nearest emergency department
Prescription Medication

Pharmacy Limitations and Requirements

  • VA can pay for a 14-day supply (no refills) of prescription medication for urgent care.
  • Prescriptions can be filled at an in-network pharmacy, at VA, or at a non-network pharmacy.
  • If a non-network pharmacy is used, Veterans must pay for the prescription and then file a claim for reimbursement with their local VA medical facility.
  • Prescriptions must be filled in the same state as the Veteran’s urgent care visit.
  • For a 14-day supply or greater, or for routine, non-urgent medications, the prescription must be submitted to VA to be filled.
  • Opiates are limited to seven days or less, consistent with state law covering the pharmacy’s location.
  • Some Veterans may be required to pay a VA copayment after the urgent care visit for prescription medication, which is billed separately by VA.
  • All prescriptions must be listed on the VA Urgent/Emergent Formulary.

View the VA Urgent/Emergent Formulary

Requesting Urgent Care Pharmacy Reimbursement

Veterans can submit urgent care pharmacy reimbursement if they received a valid prescription from an urgent care visit and paid out of pocket for the medication. To seek urgent care pharmacy reimbursement, the Veteran should:

  • Send the reimbursement request to the Veteran's local VA medical facility Community Care office. To find the closest VA medical facility, Veterans should use the VA Facility Locator.
  • Claims for pharmacy reimbursement must be accompanied by the following:
    • A written request for reimbursement, with an explanation of why prescriptions were obtained from a non-CCN pharmacy versus a CCN-participating pharmacy or a VA medical facility pharmacy.
    • A valid receipt showing the amount paid for the prescription
    • The prescription information
    • Name of the medication
    • Medication dosage/strength
    • The quantity dispensed
    • Prescribing provider's name
    • Date the medication was dispensed
    • Pharmacy name and location

Find an in-network pharmacy

Use the TriWest Pharmacy Locator to find a pharmacy to fill your urgent care prescription in all states or territories EXCEPT CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV.

Use the CVS/Caremark Pharmacy Locator to find a pharmacy to fill your urgent care prescription in CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV.

Call 877-881-7618 (8 a.m.–8 p.m. EST) for telephone assistance finding a pharmacy to fill your urgent care prescription.

For care that is referred to a community provider by VA, please refer to the authorization provided to you by VA for instructions on how to find a participating pharmacy.

Copayments

Veterans may be charged a copayment for urgent care that is different from other VA medical copayments.

  • Copayments depend on the Veteran’s assigned priority group and the number of times an urgent care provider is visited in a calendar year.
  • Copayment charges are billed separately by VA as part of VA’s billing process. There is no limit to the number of times a Veteran can go to an urgent care provider.

Learn more about Veteran Copayments

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What specific services are covered by the urgent care benefit?
  2. How do I find the nearest in-network community urgent care provider?
  3. What do I do when I arrive at an urgent care location? What type of identification will I be asked to show?
  4. Does urgent care cost anything?
  5. How does prescription medication work for urgent care?
  6. There are no urgent care clinics in my area. What do I do?
  7. If there are no in-network urgent care facilities nearby, can I visit an Emergency Department (ED) instead?
  8. Can I use the in-network urgent care provider at my local pharmacy as my primary care provider (PCP)?
  9. How do I know if I need urgent care or emergency care?
  10. What if I arrive at an in-network urgent care location and have difficulty receiving care?
  11. Will VA reimburse beneficiary travel for urgent care?
  12. Are urgent care services provided at an emergency department covered by VA?
  13. Can the urgent care benefit be used by a Veteran’s family member?

1. What specific services are covered by the urgent care benefit?

Individual health conditions are complex and unique to each Veteran. As a result, and to encourage Veterans to seek care when they need it, VA does not publish a specific list of covered services. Preventive care and dental services are excluded.

2. How do I find the nearest in-network community urgent care provider?

To find a participating urgent care clinic or provider, use the VA Facility Locator. There are currently two types of urgent care network locations: walk-in retail health clinics and urgent care centers. Seek care at a retail location for an uncomplicated illness such as a sore throat. Visit an urgent location for more pressing illnesses or injuries requiring services such as splinting, casting, or wound treatment.

To find a participating urgent care clinic or provider, use the VA Facility Locator.

3. What do I do when I arrive at an urgent care location? What type of identification will I be asked to show?

Bring a valid, government-issued photo ID to the in-network urgent care location/ pharmacy. When you arrive, verify that the provider is part of VA’s contracted network, complete the intake form, and tell the provider you would like to use your VA urgent care benefit. The provider will check your eligibility. If the provider is in CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV, they will call 888-901-6609 to confirm you are eligible. In all other states or territories, the provider will call 833-4VETNOW (833-483-8669). If you arrive at an urgent care located in CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV and have issues, can call 888-901-6609 for assistance. In all other states or territories, call 866-620-2071.

4. Does urgent care cost anything?

No, you do not have to pay anything at the time of the visit. If you owe a copayment, VA will send you a bill. Copayments are $30, but your liability will depend on your assigned priority group and the number of times you have used your urgent care benefit in a calendar year. Learn more about urgent care copayments.

5. How does prescription medication work for urgent care?

VA will pay for or fill prescriptions for urgent care. For routine prescription medication longer than a 14-day supply, the prescription must be submitted to VA to be filled. Before filling the prescription, VA will verify the urgent care visit. If there are issues filling your prescription in CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV, call 888-901-6609 for assistance. In all other states or territories, call 866-620-2071.

6. There are no urgent care clinics in my area. What do I do?

Contact your local VA medical facility to discuss options. Same-day primary and mental health services are available at all VA medical centers. In addition, VA continues to expand its contracted network of urgent care providers so that most Veterans are within a 30-minute drive time from their home to a network urgent care/retail location.

7. If there are no in-network urgent care facilities nearby, can I visit an Emergency Department (ED) instead?

If you are having difficulties receiving urgent care services, contact your local VA medical facility. Same-day primary and mental health services are available at all VA medical centers. If you believe your life or health is in danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department immediately. Please note that VA can only pay for a Veteran’s emergency care under certain conditions.

For more information, visit the Emergency Care page.

8. Can I use the in-network urgent care provider at my local pharmacy as my primary care provider (PCP)?

No. Urgent care is not a replacement for services your PCP offers. Use urgent care for treating minor, non-emergent illnesses and injuries. The urgent care benefit does not cover preventive health care offered by your primary care physician. Always consider talking with or seeing your PCP if you are concerned that the urgent care provider will not understand the complexities of your medical history or medications.

9. How do I know if I need urgent care or emergency care?

Urgent care is for non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries such as strep throat, pink eye, or a strained muscle. Emergency care is for an injury, illness, or symptom so severe that a prudent layperson reasonably believes that delay in seeking immediate medical attention would be hazardous to life or health. Such life-threatening major illnesses or injuries could include severe chest pain, seizures, loss of awareness, heavy uncontrollable breathing, or severe burns. For emergency care, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away. Please note that VA can only pay for a Veteran’s emergency care under certain conditions.

For more information, visit the Emergency Care page.

10. What if I arrive at an in-network urgent care location and have difficulty receiving care?

If the urgent care location is in CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV, call 888-901-6609 for assistance. In all other states or territories, call 866-620-2071.

11. Will VA reimburse beneficiary travel for urgent care?

VA will reimburse beneficiary travel for eligible Veterans that travel to receive community care. Payment will be made for the distance to either the nearest VA or community medical facility that could have provided the care or services. Payment will only be made on a one-way basis (e.g., not round-trip) for unscheduled care.

12. Are urgent care services provided at an emergency department covered by VA?

If the emergency department is part of VA’s contracted network and has agreed to furnish urgent care services in accordance with the contract requirements, VA can pay for these services for eligible Veterans under this benefit.

13. Can the urgent care benefit be used by a Veteran’s family member?

Only eligible Veterans can use this benefit. The benefit does not extend to family members and is non-transferrable.

Contacts

For help with urgent care eligibility and general questions, call 844-MyVA311 (844-698-2311), select option 1, and then select option 1 again.

For help when at the urgent care provider, call:

  • 888-901-6609 if located in CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV
  • 866-620-2071 for all other states and territories

NOTE: Urgent care providers and pharmacists can also use these numbers for assistance.

VA Facility Locator