May 31, 2016

VAPAHCS Expands Access with CVS MinuteClinic

Photo: A CVS Minute Clinic

Letter from the VAPAHCS Director:

On Tuesday, May 24, VA Palo Alto Health Care System launched a pilot that will bring even more access to our Veterans with the CVS Minute Clinic.

The unique program is only for Veterans enrolled at VAPAHCS, allowing them to be referred by the Telephone Care Program to a participating CVS Minute Clinic in Northern California. They can receive same-day care for minor illnesses and injuries, even on nights and weekends.

The pilot program allows Veterans enrolled for care with VAPAHCS to receive a broad range of free services at a CVS MinuteClinic. At the moment, there are only 14 participating CVS MinuteClinics within Northern California.
Veterans must be enrolled for care at VAPAHCS and must be referred by an advice nurse for any minor illness or injuries by calling the Telephone Care Line (1-800-455-0057).

What is a MinuteClinic?
MinuteClinic, the walk-in medical clinic inside select CVS/pharmacy® stores, is the largest provider of retail health care in the United States. In addition to diagnosing and treating illnesses, injuries and skin conditions, the clinics also provide all kinds of wellness services, including vaccinations, physicals, and screenings and monitoring for chronic conditions.

CVS is the only retail health care provider to receive three consecutive accreditations from The Joint Commission. Learn more at

How does it work?
Veterans must first call the Telephone Care Line (1-800-455-0057) to have an advice nurse assess their healthcare need. The nurse can refer any care for minor illnesses or injuries and skin conditions to this program. The Veteran can receive a same-day appointment at their nearest participating MinuteClinic and also receive medication.

After the visit, the MinuteClinic provider will send over the records of the visit to VAPAHCS so the Veteran’s primary care provider can follow up, providing continuity of care.

What CVS MinuteClinics are participating?
There are currently 14 participating CVS MinuteClinic locations in Costra Costa, Sacramento, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties.

The pilot took a lot of hard work to get off the ground and I want to thank everyone involved, especially the champion of the pilot, Dr. Sarah Russell. Without her persistence and expertise, this pilot would not have succeeded - thank you Sarah!

Lisa Freeman
VAPAHCS Director

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