VHA Office of Community Care
Non-VA Medical Care Program–Information for Veterans
If you are eligible for health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs, our goal is to provide you with the care you need in a VA facility. However, sometimes that isn’t possible: you may live too far from a VA facility, the specialist you need may not be available at your VA, or it may take too long for you to be seen at a VA facility. In those cases, you may be referred to a community provider through the Non-VA Medical Care program.
In most cases, having VA pay for care in the community requires pre-authorization. And, any care needed or recommended beyond the scope of that authorization must be approved by the VA facility that authorized the care.
In the event of an emergency, when a VA facility is not the nearest medical facility, do not delay treatment by attempting to request VA payment authorization first. Instead, proceed to the nearest emergency room to get the care you need. A medical emergency is generally defined as a condition of such a nature that a prudent layperson would reasonably expect a delay in seeking immediate medical attention to be hazardous to life or health.
Eligibility for VA payment of emergency care, as well as deadlines for filing claims, depend upon whether or not you have a service-connected condition and your specific eligibility for non-VA medical care. It is important to inform the non-VA medical facility treating you that you are a Veteran. If inpatient care is required and you desire VA care and payment consideration, always inform the non-VA medical facility staff that you want to transfer to a VA facility when your medical condition stabilizes. It’s important to contact the closest VA facility as soon as possible to find out more about VA payment of your emergency care.
Use the VA Facility Directory to find the closest VA facility in your area.
Other Available Health Benefits and Services
Foreign Medical Program
The Foreign Medical Program, or FMP, provides health care benefits to U.S. Veterans with VA-rated, service-connected conditions who are residing or traveling abroad (excluding the Philippines). Under FMP, VA pays for certain necessary medical services associated with the treatment of those service-connected conditions.
Visit Foreign Medical Program for more information about the program.
Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3)
Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) is a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) program that uses health care contracts to establish networks of health care providers to offer eligible Veterans access to primary care, inpatient/outpatient specialty care, mental health care, limited emergency care, and limited newborn care for enrolled female Veterans following the birth of a child.
Visit Patient-Centered Community Care for more information about the program.
If you have been rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, your dependents may be eligible for the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA). This program is a comprehensive health care program in which the VA shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries. Surviving spouses and children of certain Veterans are also eligible for CHAMPVA.
Visit CHAMPVA for more information.
Fact Sheet 20-01: Overview of Non-VA Care
A one-page information document that provides background information on the Non-VA Care program.
Fact Sheet 20-02: Non-VA Emergency Care
Document explaining what VA might be able to do for you if you need emergency care and it is not possible for you to go to a VA Medical Center.
Fact Sheet 20-05: Ambulance Transport at VA Expense–A Guide for Veterans
Information on payment and authorization critieria for ambulance transport.
VA Health Benefits
VA website containing information about VA health care benefits and eligibility.
Health Benefits Explorer
Answer a few questions about your military service to learn about the VA health care benefits you could receive as an enrolled Veteran.