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Emergency Medical Care

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You never know when you may need emergency medical care, so it's good to know what to do and where to go before an emergency situation happens.

During a medical emergency, Veterans should immediately seek care at the nearest medical facility.

A medical emergency is an injury, illness or symptom so severe that without immediate treatment, you believe your life or health is in danger. If you believe your life or health is in danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away.

See the Emergency Medical Care informational video at "Seek immediate Care in an Emergency."

Veterans do not need to check with VA before calling for an ambulance or going to an emergency department. During a medical emergency, VA encourages all Veterans to seek immediate medical attention without delay. A claim for emergency care will never be denied based solely on VA not receiving notification prior to seeking care.

It is, however, important to promptly notify VA after receiving emergency care at a community emergency department. Notification should be made within 72 hours of admission to a community medical facility. This allows VA to assist the Veteran in coordinating necessary care or transfer, and helps to ensure that the administrative and clinical requirements for VA to pay for the care are met.

IMPORTANT: An emergency department (ED) is a facility that is staffed and equipped to provide emergency treatment and does not include community facilities that provide medical treatment in situations other than emergencies.

For additional information, including fact sheets, please visit the VHA's Office of Community Care website.

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