ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico veterans will now have more choices for health care. This helps if you get sick on Friday night and don’t want to wait until Monday to see a VA doctor.
New Mexico veterans who are eligible for VA benefits can now receive treatment at community and urgent care facilities. The New Mexico VA says this is a benefit new to the area.
“That was a benefit that VA actually never had,” said Andrew Welch, Medical Center Director for the New Mexico VA Health Care System. “Urgent care wasn’t always something that was available to them so this is something that we’ve actually added as a brand new benefit for our veterans.”
It’s a part of an expansion of the VA’s MISSION Act. It came after highly publicized problems with some veterans across the U.S. not being able to get appointments at VA hospitals in a timely manner.
“If they have something like pink eye, they need a flu shot, those kinds of things, we want them to be able to get that as easily and with the greatest amount of accessibility as possible,” said Welch. “What we want is to be able to modernize our health care system so we can address our veterans needs, when and where we need them.”
Veterans will now be able to use different civilian urgent care centers. Another benefit for some will be finding health care closer to home.
“Be able to provide the care, not just the urgent care, but also other outpatient care, for our veterans so they can get their care in a timely way and also with closer access to their homes,” said Welch. “The main thing with the mission act is that we’ve been able to modernize our health care system and access to our health care system and health care services that we provide to our veterans.”
Veterans will not have to go to a civilian doctor if they don’t want to. The VA says that its hospitals offer some same-day services.
The VA says a number of urgent cares have already signed up and will be available as in-network providers for veterans.