Increasing access to care for veterans

Veterans served by the VA Palo Alto can now access care at MinuteClinic.

For nearly nine million United States veterans, the Veterans Health Administration plays a critical role in helping them get the health care they need. Veterans who use this benefit can receive care at one of more than 1,700 VA locations across the country. Because of the high demand for services, VA health systems are continuously looking for ways to increase convenience and access for those who have served our country. So when the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in Northern California announced it was looking for a private-sector partner, MinuteClinic was proud to join forces with them to provide additional treatment options for veterans.

Through the arrangement, the more than 60,000 veterans in Northern California can now be referred to one of 14 local MinuteClinic locations to receive treatment for common illnesses. “We are proud to help make top-notch care more accessible for local veterans,” said MinuteClinic President Andrew Sussman, M.D. “Our relationship with Palo Alto HCS will allow us to provide that care in locations and at times that are convenient for the VA’s patients.”

Here’s how it works:

  • The veteran calls the VA Palo Alto’s Nurse Helpline, where a registered nurse listens to his or her concerns; for acute health services such as ear infections, strep throat or flu, the nurse can refer the patient to MinuteClinic rather than a VA location.

  • The veteran visits MinuteClinic to receive treatment. If medication is prescribed during the visit, the patient will be able to fill the prescription at CVS Pharmacy.

  • After the visit and with the patient’s consent, MinuteClinic will electronically send a visit summary to the patient’s primary care physician at the VA to ensure continuity of care. Patients who need more comprehensive care will be directed to follow up with their VA primary care provider.

For veterans like Christine Poblete, MinuteClinic is a welcome option. “Veterans in this area could definitely take advantage of this new option to get care,” she said. “The VA clinic hours are limited to certain hours, and to have access to care outside of those hours is definitely convenient.”