"We're committed to providing top-notch care to the area's Veterans and this relationship will allow us to do so in locations and at times that are convenient for the VA's patients".
The program in the Phoenix, Arizona area will allow veterans to use the pharmacy in order to reduce wait times at the VA, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
"I applaud the VA for increasing its transparency by making patient wait times and care data available online", Rutherford noted.
This sentiment is echoed by TriWest, one of VA's partners in administering the Veterans Choice Program.
The agreement may help to make it easier for veterans to access care for low-level complaints without having to work through the VA's notoriously lengthy appointment-setting process. VA Secretary David Shulkin has indicated he would like to scrap the current VCP restrictions. But, he wants the VA to handle all scheduling and "customer service" - something that veterans groups generally support but government auditors caution could prove unwieldy and expensive. That broader plan would have to be approved by Congress.
"Veterans must have access to information that is clear and understandable to make informed decisions about their health care", said VA Sec. "Partnerships between VA and private providers are essential to delivering care in the diverse geographies where Veterans live", he said.
From his seat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., insisted he was "proud of the work we've done" and called the new online portal a step in the right direction.
The program mirrors an initiative started in 2016 in Palo Alto, California, that also allows veterans to receive referrals to CVS retail clinic locations.
FILE - In this June 21, 2013 file photo, the seal affixed to the front of the Veterans Affairs Department building in Washington. The bill being signed by Trump seeks to alleviate some of the problems by helping speed up VA payments and promote greater sharing of medical records. In Sioux Falls, the website reports that 98 percent of the veterans who reported were "Always" or "Usually" able to get an appointment when needed for primary care appointments. "We are working to leverage technology to share important clinical information and ensure care continuity", said Dr. Maureen McCarthy, PVAHCS Chief of Staff.