"We're looking forward to working with the Phoenix VA Health Care System team to ensure that their patients have additional options for high-quality acute care at times and locations that are convenient for them".
In 2014, the Phoenix VA was at the center of a torrid scandal involving patient wait times. He is seeking to establish a nationwide plan, which will reduce veterans' wait times. The new initiative announced Tuesday, April 18, 2017, is a pilot program that allows ailing veterans who receive treatment at the Phoenix VA medical center to access one of 24 "MinuteClinics" operated by CVS for treatment of minor illnesses and injuries, such as respiratory infections or to order lab tests. One benefit of using the MinuteClinics is that VA will not endeavor to build the facilities but instead rely on private sector investments already in place. "This allows Veterans to see how VA is performing".
The innovative program introduces and access points for receiving care. Shulkin also has said he wants to eliminate Choice's 30-day, 40 mile restrictions, allowing the VA instead to determine when outside care is "clinically needed".
The VA's new Access and Quality Tool will offer veterans more information on patient wait times and quality of care of VA facilities compared to local hospitals. This means VA can conclude on the need for outside care. "This tool will instill a spirit of competition and encourage our medical facilities to proactively address access and quality issues".
"My district is home to one of the largest veterans populations in the country and despite some improvements we've been able to make over the past few years, veterans are still experiencing problems with getting timely access to quality care, especially in rural areas", Rooney said on Thursday.
And Tobias Barker, the chief medical officer of CVS MinuteClinic, told the AP he hopes the new program can be one of several solutions to providing medical care to America's veterans. In the meantime, CVS' stock closed at $78.25 a fall of $0.48 or 0.61%.