Call centers at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and some VA health facilities are currently experiencing very high numbers of calls. They ask that you use their online tools for the following questions:
Healthcare, appointments and more
Benefit payments, claims and claim exams
Debt, copays, appeals and other financial concerns
Status of VA national cemeteries and burials
For general questions about COVID-19, such as symptoms, prevention steps, guidance for travelers and more, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC defines COVID-19 as a new type of coronavirus (or “novel coronavirus”). COVID-19 belongs to a large family of viruses that are common in people and different animal species. On rare occasions, animal coronaviruses can infect people, and then spread from person-to-person. This is how COVID-19 started. Typical symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
To learn more about COVID-19, prevention steps, guidance for high-risk groups, travelers and more, visit the CDC.
If you have a fever, coughing and shortness of breath, call your VA medical center before going to a clinic, urgent care or emergency room. You can also send your doctor a secure message through My HealtheVet.
Contacting the VA first helps us protect you, medical staff and other patients.
If you’re not sure about your symptoms, the VA’s Annie text messaging service can help you monitor them and advise you when to contact your VA care team or your facility’s advice nurse.
The messages also provide general wellness tips and steps you can take to protect yourself. You can subscribe to Annie coronavirus precautions messages yourself, or ask your VA care team to assign it to you.
Visit the CDC to learn more about the symptoms of COVID-19.
The VA’s emergency management coordination cell (EMCC) have started clinical screenings at all VA facilities. Learn about VA’s public health response
Testing is based on many factors, including the severity of symptoms, other existing illnesses or conditions, possible exposure and other criteria. The VA health facilities have been testing Veterans who meet the testing criteria provided by the CDC. There’s no charge for testing.
What should I do if I have an upcoming VA health appointment?
For routine appointments, the VA recommends using telehealth (phone or video) for your scheduled appointment. You can also cancel and reschedule your appointment for a later date.
If you have a nonurgent elective procedure scheduled, the VA may contact you to cancel or reschedule for a later date. Note: Urgent and emergent procedures will continue as scheduled.
Once your provider schedules a telehealth appointment, you’ll receive a VA Video Connect link (or another approved video meeting tool). Learn more about VA Video Connect.
If you have a scheduled appointment with a community care (non-VA) provider, please contact them directly before going.
Some community care providers may be affected by closures, limited services, quarantining or social distancing based on the CDC and local health department guidelines. If your appointment is canceled, work with your community care provider to reschedule.
The VA is extending authorizations for community care referrals, so you can continue to work with your community care provider to meet your needs. If you have concerns about rescheduling your community care appointment, send a secure message to your VA provider.
During the pandemic, the VA is continuing to make community care referrals when needed. Because of COVID-19, they are currently prioritizing referrals for urgent or other medically necessary care.
Note: Some community care providers may be affected by closures, limited services, quarantining or social distancing based on the CDC and local health department guidelines.
Appointments to see community care providers need to be approved by the VA (except for emergency and urgent care needs). Getting a referral depends on eligibility, type of care and other factors.
At this time, community care eligibility requirements haven’t changed. Learn about eligibility for community care
Sign in to your VA.gov account to reschedule or cancel your appointments online.
Note: Some clinics are advising patients to not reschedule or schedule new appointments for some types of routine care, as they develop more guidance on safely providing care to protect patients and staff. Because this is a rapidly changing situation, the best way to get the most up-to-date facility information is to check your local VA health facility’s website. Find a VA location.
Please sign in to use this service. Try signing in with your DS Logon, My HealtheVet, or ID.me account. If you don’t have an account, you can create one on the MyHealtheVet website.
To help the VA address the most urgent needs first, they ask that you use one of their online tools for routine or nonurgent concerns. You can:
Please request refills as soon as possible, but no later than 10 days before you run out of your current prescription. And please check that the VA has your current mailing address on file in your VA.gov profile so they can send your prescriptions to the right address. If you need to, you can sign in to change your address online.
Note: If you currently get your prescription sent to you by mail, you’ll continue to receive your refill requests as normal.
For questions about your prescriptions, send a secure message to your healthcare team through My HealtheVet.
You can request a prescription renewal in one of these ways:
If you need to renew a prescription for a medication that requires an in-person evaluation, the VA has temporarily updated their policy to allow this type of evaluation through telehealth (phone or video) appointment.
To request a telehealth appointment for a prescription renewal, send a secure message to your provider through My HealtheVet.
If you’re experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest ER.
If you have an urgent care need, the VA asks that you contact them first. You can use secure messaging or call your facility’s advice nurse before going to a clinic or walk-in urgent care facility. By not using the ER for nonmedical emergencies, you can help the VA protect you, medical staff and other patients, as well as help address critical medical needs first during this period of COVID-19 outbreak.
Symptoms that may need urgent care attention (within 24 to 48 hours) include:
Note: For emergencies, you don’t need a referral or approval from the VA to go to an ER in your community (an ER that’s not a VA facility).
First, it’s important to know you’re not alone, and the VA is here for you. Concerns about COVID-19 can be stressful for many people. You can take steps to manage stress and get support.
Get more VA tips for maintaining your mental health
Visit the CDC to learn more about managing COVID-19 stress and anxiety
Because this is a rapidly changing situation, the best way to get the most up-to-date facility information is to check your local VA health facility’s website. Find a VA location.
The VA is currently following CDC guidelines and limiting visitors for patients receiving care in a VA facility, including a hospital, nursing home, or spinal cord injury and disorder center. Limiting outside visitors helps protect older Veterans and those who already have health issues.
The VA does make an exception for Veterans who qualify as a “compassionate case.” This means the Veteran is in their last stage of life in a hospice unit and you can only visit that Veteran’s room.
Visit the CDC website for more tips on stopping community spread.
The VA is currently processing all benefit payments as normal. Benefit payments include payments for disability, pension, education payments to your school and more.
If you are not receiving your benefits or have been denied benefits, we are here. COVID-19 is a major “distraction” for the government but should in no way impact the needs of those Veterans in need of benefits today – and tomorrow. To date, Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, is practicing the guidelines of the CDC (social distancing), but still able to seamlessly serve both new and existing Veterans’ Disability cases. If you’d like to learn more about filing a Veterans disability claim, feel free to contact us at 877.526.3455 or Fight4Vets.com for your free evaluation. We hope this post has been helpful, but for more information about your individual benefits and claims, please be in contact.