Veterans may be eligible to receive care from a provider outside of VA in their community when VA cannot provide the care you need. This type of care is known as “community care,” and is paid for by VA.

Although some changes have taken place with community care recently, Veterans continue to have access to this type of care.

The process starts at your VA medical facility. Follow the steps below to see if you’re eligible:

  1. Go to VA
  • Schedule an appointment with a VA provider.
  • Your VA care team will work with you to see if you are eligible for community care.
  • Eligibility is based on your medical needs, care that is available at VA, and other requirements.
  • Important: Make sure VA confirms you are eligible and authorized before going to the next step.
  1. Make an Appointment
  • VA will work with you to find a community provider and make an appointment.
  • You can select a community provider or VA can select one for you.
  • Important: The community provider selected must be in VA’s network and be willing to accept payment from VA.
  1. Receive Care
  • Arrive promptly for your appointment.
  • Important: If you need to schedule a follow‐up appointment, check with your community provider to make sure VA authorized the care. If VA did not authorize the care, your community provider should contact VA to arrange the care you need.

You will likely have questions about these steps. See our list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Getting Support

If you have questions about your specific circumstances, please contact your nearest VA medical facility. If you have a question about the Veterans Choice Program, contact (866) 6068198. You can also call the VA Adverse Credit Helpline at (877) 881-7618 for help resolving adverse credit reporting and debt collection issues from using the Veterans Choice Program.

For more information, visit the following link:

VA’s Office of Community Care works closely with Veterans and their families, community providers, and VA staff to ensure Veterans can get care from community providers when needed. The office also administers VHA’s beneficiary programs, and collects revenue from private health insurance carriers to provide additional financial support to VA medical facility operations

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Published on Sep. 4, 2018

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

Views to date: 316


  1. Phinetta Hunter September 13, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    My Father is almost 93, lives in a rural area. He drives to the VA clinic 35 miles from his home, but has to travel over 150 miles to see specialist at the VA hospital. He can not get in to see a special for over 30 days. Why oh why can he not go to another doctor closer. The VA is failing my dad. Dad served his country in WWll and the Korean Conflict he deserves better.

  2. Bob Orta September 9, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    Can’t figure out how to create a new post,so I’m adding a comment.
    I’m on vacation and found that I don’t have enough glacoma med drops to last until I return home. I’m near Clinton Iowa on the Illinois side. Searched the web for VA pharmacies, but it doesn’t seem to be searchable. Not sure what to do about this problem. Anyone have an idea on how to get an Rx refilled when not near my ‘home’ VA in CA?

  3. Robert Cahill September 6, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    Does this also apply if the VA Healthcare is more than 40 miles from the Veterans home?

    Robert Cahill

    • Veterans Health Administration September 25, 2018 at 9:36 am

      Eligibility for accessing community care is based on your medical needs, care that is available at VA, and other requirements. Your VA care team will work with you to see if you are eligible for community care. For more information, visit here

Comments are closed.

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