View Full Version : VA To Fill Prescriptions by Non-VA Physicians

07-24-03, 12:22 PM
VA To Fill Prescriptions by Non-VA Physicians
WASHINGTON Some veterans waiting to see Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians for the first time may be eligible to receive medications from VA mail-out pharmacies that were prescribed by private doctors, under a new policy announced today.
"This policy should ease the minds of veterans with pharmaceutical needs who have been waiting too long for their first appointment," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi. "This decision will help these veterans while preserving our ability to serve others."
To be eligible for the new benefit, veterans must meet all of the following conditions:
Have enrolled in VA health care by July 25, 2003, and
Requested their first primary care appointment with VA by July 25, 2003, and
Must be waiting more than 30 days for their first appointment with a primary care physician on Sept. 22, 2003.
The first prescriptions will be filled under the new program on September 22. Eligible veterans will be unable to get prescriptions filled before that date. The period between announcement of the program (July 25) and filling the first prescriptions (Sept. 22) is necessary to allow VA to identify and contact eligible veterans and to put new systems and procedures in place to deliver this benefit.
Principi stressed the policy is a short-term measure to assist veterans who were enrolled and waiting for the appointment by July 25, when details about the new benefit were published in the Federal Register. It will not apply to veterans who are put on the waiting list after July 25. VA estimates that 200,000 veterans will be eligible for the benefit.
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"Traditionally, an examination and a prescription both by a VA physician -- have been required before VA would provide pharmacy benefits to veterans," Principi said. "By improving the process of giving veterans the medication they're seeking, we can enhance their health care treatment and reduce the waiting lists for everyone."
Veterans covered by the new rule will receive information by mail from their nearest VA medical facility about filling prescriptions by mail from non-VA doctors, including information for the doctors themselves.
"Representatives John Mica and Rob Simmons played an important role in launching this new benefit due to their keen interest in improving prescription coverage for veterans," Principi said. Mica is a Republican from Florida and Simmons is a Republican from Connecticut.