On August 13, 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that primary care has been added to its Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) program.
Essentially, this means that Veterans who are waiting for primary care appointments at VA facilities can now seek care from physicians outside of the VA healthcare system.
PC3 was originally was designed to provide specialty care for Veterans and their dependents who can’t access a VA medical facility because of distance or prolonged wait times at their regular facility. The program was expanded to include primary care in an effort to expedite treatment to patients on wait-lists.
According to the VA, the change is part of the department’s “Accelerated Care Initiative,” which is a considerable effort to eliminate appointment wait-lists for the VA healthcare system.
The VA spent $5 billion on private-sector care in 2013, and launched the PC3 program back in January to provide care to Veterans using established health care provider networks. While VA facilities have had the authority to outsource care since January, many have been reluctant to utilize the option. And on the flip-side, many Veterans have preferred to seek treatment at VA facilities.
The VA has been under constant pressure to take any means necessary to eliminate the wait times for Veterans in need of medical care. The scandal regarding wait times has permeated the media for months. The expansion of the PC3 program is an additional component that will help get the VA on track.
For more information about the PC3 program and outsourced treatment for VA patients, please visit the VA webpage at http://www.nonvacare.va.gov/PC3/index.asp
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Military Connection: VA’s PC3 Program Expands: By Debbie Gregory