Students voice issues on Advocacy Day
By Byron Patten - Staff Reporter
The Department of Veterans Affairs has just announced that all 1,000 of its facilities are available for same-day care for primary or mental-health needs.That sounds great. But there are caveats. Same-day care doesn't necessarily mean you'll go in that day. There is a protocol to determine just how urgent your case actually is. You might get a real visit, or you might get advice from a nurse, a telehealth or video visit, an appointment to see a specialist or a prescription filled that day, or you might get an email. Same-day care also applies only to days and times a facility is open.To learn more about the process of getting urgent care, go to www.accesstocare.va.gov. Check the Frequently Asked Questions while you're there. You'll see a list of locations with the hours and days each facility is open (some are Monday-Friday only, with regular business hours), as well as the services they provide.Also, in the FAQ, note the way non-urgent wait times are calculated. If you want an appointment and they can't fit you in for six days, your wait is six days. OK, that's fair. If, on the other hand, you are a returning patient whose physician has requested you return at a certain time, the wait time is calculated as days between the requested date and the date they can actually get you in. They give this example: Your doctor wants you back in 30 days, but they can't fit you in until 45 days, then your wait time is 15 days.If you really want immediate care and can't get it, the FAQ lists more options, including mobile medical units, mobile vet units, vet centers, walk-in clinics and emergency rooms. Check your area now so you'll know your options in advance should you ever need urgent care.