"Veterans must have access to information that is clear and understandable to make informed decisions about their health care", said VA Sec. A similar service was also launched with the VA in Palo Alto, California past year.
"This new public-private collaboration between CVS, TriWest and the VA is an important step forward in enhancing choice and flexibility in Veterans' health care", said Senator John McCain. There are 24 "Minute Clinics" in the Phoenix area, where veterans can go and get immediate care for illnesses and injuries.
In a recent survey conducted by the VA, only 61 percent of veterans said they could get a medical appointment for primary care when they needed one. Normally, under that program, vets are eligible if they have been waiting 30 days for an appointment or live 40 miles away from a VA facility that provides the care that they need.
The VA did not indicate whether it received requests from other VA medical centers or how quickly it might expand the program elsewhere. President and Chief Executive Officer of TriWest, David J. McIntyre, Jr. states, "TriWest values greatly the partnership with community providers who share our commitment to providing Veterans timely, high quality, and convenient health care".
The VA has launched an online Access and Quality Tool providing patient wait time and quality of care data, which the department is calling "the most transparent and easy to understand wait time and quality data website in the health-care industry". "We believe in the MinuteClinic model of care and are excited to offer our health care services as one potential solution for the Phoenix VA Health Care System and its patients", he said.
In 2014, the Phoenix VA was at the center of a torrid scandal involving patient wait times.
The MinuteClinic partnership may allow veterans to access care much more quickly through the VA referral hotline. Nurse practitioners for MinuteClinic can write prescriptions and give common immunizations.