VA urgent care services to eligible Veterans at VA medical facilities or at in‑network urgent care clinics closer to home.
Print the Urgent Care Assistance Card and take it with you to your urgent care visit and in-network pharmacy.v When using the card, identify the correct region where you are seeking care.
Use VA’s urgent care benefit to treat minor injuries and illnesses that are not life-threatening, such as colds, strep throat, sprained muscles, and skin and ear infections.
To access an in-network urgent care provider, you must:
- Be eligible.
- To be eligible for urgent care, Veterans must:
- Be enrolled in the VA health care system AND
- Have received care through VA from either a VA or community provider within the past 24 months
To check eligibility, contact your local VA medical facility OR call 800-MyVA411 (800-698-2411), select option 1, then option 3, and then option 1 again.
- Go to an in-network urgent care provider.
- Pay a VA copayment (if applicable) after the visit, which is billed separately by VA.
To find an in-network pharmacy:
Use the VA Facility Locator to locate in-network pharmacy locations. You must visit an in-network pharmacy location in the same state as your urgent care visit to avoid any issues filling your urgent care prescription.
The urgent care benefit covers services provided by urgent care centers and walk-in retail health clinics such as:
- Colds, minor injuries, skin and ear infections, pink eye, strep throat, and more.
- Diagnostic services like X-rays, some lab testing and some medications (with limitations).
- Therapeutic vaccines when these are required for the treatment of certain covered conditions.
IMPORTANT: Urgent Care is Not a Replacement for Preventive or Emergency Care
Veterans should work with their primary care provider for this type of care. While urgent care is a convenient benefit for nonemergent symptoms, Veterans should always consider talking with or seeing their primary care provider if they are concerned the urgent care location will not understand the complexities of their medical history or medications.
Veterans should remember the following when considering urgent care:
- When in doubt about your health condition or symptoms, Veterans should always seek a higher level of care, such as care from an emergency department. This is because they may have symptoms related to a serious health condition that an urgent care provider may not be able to adequately address.
- If Veterans have a medical emergency, they should immediately seek care at the nearest emergency room. A medical emergency is an injury, illness, or symptom so severe that a prudent layperson reasonably believes that delay in seeking immediate medical attention would be hazardous to life or health.
- If you believe your life or health is in danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department immediately.
Differences Between Urgent and Emergency Care
Urgent care consists of medical services provided for minor illnesses or injuries that are not life-threatening such as strep throat, pink eye, or influenza.
Emergency care is inpatient or outpatient hospital services that are necessary to prevent death or serious impairment of health such as severe chest pain; seizures or loss of awareness; heavy uncontrollable bleeding; or moderate to severe burns.
- Single Judge Application; Spellers v. Wilkie; the Court held in Spellers v. Wilkie, with respect to the diagnostic code for incomplete paralysis of the sciatic nerve, which also rates the condition based solely on the level of severity (i.e., mild, moderate, severe), the “lack of objective criteria for differentiating between the specified severity levels means that any evidence indicating severity of incomplete paralysis of the sciatic nerve is necessarily relevant to the schedular rating level.” 30 Vet.App. 211, 219 (2018) (emphasis omitted);
- Single Judge Application; tinnitus; Murphy v. Wilkie, 983 F.3d 1313, 1318 (Fed. Cir. 2020) (endorsing Clemons and explaining that “VA shall afford lenity to a veteran’s filings; evidence developed in processing that claim; claimant’s description of the claim; the symptoms the claimant describes; and the information the claimant submits or that the Secretary obtains in support of the claim; The Board did not, however, address the reasonably raised issue of whether the veteran’s specific claim for tinnitus encompassed a claim for a vestibular condition manifesting in dizziness, as required by Clemons. In Clemons, the Court explained that, because lay claimants generally lack the medical knowledge to narrow the universe of a claim to a particular diagnosis, VA “should construe a claim based on the reasonable expectations of the non-expert, self-represented claimant and the evidence developed in processing that claim.” 23 Vet.App. at 5. “[T]he claimant’s intent in filing a claim is paramount to construing its breadth,” and factors relevant to that inquiry include “the claimant’s description of the claim; the symptoms the claimant describes; and the information the claimant submits or that the Secretary obtains in support of the claim.” Id. The Court ultimately held that the Board may not deny a claim because a lay claimant’s hypothesized diagnosis proves incorrect; rather, the Board must “confront the difficult questions of what current condition actually exist[s] and whether it was incurred in or aggravated by service.” Id. at 6. In so doing, the Board must make “affirmative finding[s] as to the nature of the [claimant’s] condition.” Id. In short, “the fact that the [claimant] may be wrong about the nature of his [or her] condition does not relieve the Secretary of his duty to properly adjudicate the claim.” Id.; see generally Murphy v. Wilkie, 983 F.3d 1313, 1318 (Fed. Cir. 2020) (endorsing Clemons and explaining that “VA shall afford lenity to a veteran’s filings that fail to enumerate precisely the disabilities included within the bounds of a claim,” which “is best accomplished by looking to the veteran’s reasonable expectations in filing the claim and the evidence developed in processing that claim”).;
- Single Judge Application; the ultimate “lesson of our cases is that, while a pro se claimant’s ‘claim must identify the benefit sought,’ the identification need not be explicit in the claim-stating documents, but can also be found indirectly through examination of evidence to which those documents themselves point when sympathetically read.” Shea v. Wilkie, 926 F.3d 1362, 1368–69 (Fed. Cir. 2019). Here, the claim-stating documents pointed, when sympathetically viewed, to a history of symptoms of abdominal pain that yielded a diagnosis of gastritis. And that’s not all. The veteran’s gastritis was expressly linked to service by VA’s own medical examiner—in the context of an examination sought by the Agency as part of the development of Mr. Martinelli’s other claims.; The Secretary says the veteran is out of his depth in suggesting to the Court that melatonin use indicates sleep issues. But even if that were true, the veteran retorts, the Secretary forgets the Court’s ability to take judicial notice of facts generally known. See Tagupa v. McDonald, 27 Vet.App. 95, 100-01 (2014). Indeed, one need look no further than a basic medical dictionary to conclude that his in-service prescription was favorable, material evidence. Melatonin is “a hormone . . . implicated in the regulation of sleep, mood, puberty, and ovarian cycles. It has been tried therapeutically for a number of conditions, including insomnia and jet lag.” DORLAND’S ILLUSTRATED MEDICAL DICTIONARY 1110 (33d ed. 2020). The Board has a responsibility to explain why it rejects favorable, material evidence. Garner v. Tran, 33 Vet.App. 241, 250 (2021).;
- Tinnitus may occur following a single exposure to high-intensity impulse noise, long-term exposure to repetitive impulses, long-term exposure to continuous noise, or exposure to a combination of impulses and continuous noise (Loeb and Smith, 1967; Chermak and Dengerink, 1987; Metternich and Brusis, 1999; Temmel et al., 1999; Stankiewicz et al., 2000; Mrena et al., 2002).”