Veterans may obtain a variety of services from the Kerrville Veterans Administration Medical Center. But they cannot obtain emergency care or urgent care at Kerrville VAMC.

Veterans in need of emergency care should call 911 for an ambulance or immediately go to the closest hospital with an emergency room. If emergency services are provided, the veteran must notify the VA within 72 hours or potentially lose payment from the VA. 

Not all community emergency services will be paid for by the VA. The VA will only pay for eligible emergency services.

The VA has recently established agreements with local providers for urgent care. Providers are located in Kerrville, Fredericksburg, Boerne and San Antonio. Urgent care is available from the provider during normal business hours, which may or may not be 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Emergency care and urgent care are not the same. 

Emergency care means an immediate threat to life or well-being and needs attention as soon as possible. 

Urgent care is less severe and usually means that care needs to be delivered on the same day but not immediately. Urgent care is care for conditions that are not life threatening.

Urgent care and primary care are not the same thing. 

Veterans should call the VA to schedule a visit with a primary care team. 

The VA has established a goal of providing primary care visits with 20 days. If the VA cannot provide primary care within 20 days, the veteran may be able to use VA authorized community care in order to obtain necessary medical services.

To receive urgent care, the veteran needs to be enrolled in the VA health care system and have received some type of service from the VA in the past 24 months. The veteran will need to show a VA health care ID to receive service. Prior authorization from the VA for outside urgent care is not necessary.

The VA is expanding its community urgent care network. The VA recently established an agreement for urgent care in Kerrville with Franklin Clinic, 723 Hill Country Drive. This is in the Winwood Village shopping center, across from H-E-B on Sidney Baker South. Normal business hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The clinic is open on Saturday morning and closed on Sunday.

If the urgent care visit results in a prescribed medication, the veteran can obtain the prescription from any local provider. 

The veteran should obtain a prescription group ID card and have it available in order to obtain the prescription and have it billed to the VA.

Locations of community urgent care providers can be found on the internet at www.va.gov/find-locations. Information on locations may also be obtained by telephone at 1-866-620-2071. 

Both Veterans and providers can call 1-833-4VETNOW (1-833-483-8669) to confirm eligibility.

Veterans may have to pay the VA a co-payment for urgent care services. This payment may be as low as $30. Veterans will be billed for any co-payment by the VA and should not make any payment at the time of receiving urgent care services from the provider.

Additional questions on eligibility for this benefit can be obtained from the Kerrville VA by contacting the eligibility office. The Kerrville VA can be reached at 830-896-2020.

Gary Noller is commander of the Cpl. Jacob C. Leicht AMVETS Post 1000 in Kerrville. He can be reached at gnoller@aol.com.

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