United States Department of Veterans Affairs

VA Core Values and

What is Non-VA Care: Non-VA Care is medical care provided to eligible Veterans outside of VA when VA facilities are not available. All VA medical centers can use this program when needed. The use of the Non-VA Care program is governed by federal laws containing eligibility criteria and other policies specifying when and why it can be used. A pre-authorization for treatment in the community is required for Non-VA Care -- unless the medical event is an emergency. Emergency events may be reimbursed on behalf of the Veteran in certain cases. See the Emergency Non-VA Care brochure for information.

Unavailability of VA Medical Facilities or Services: Non-VA Care is used when VA medical facilities are not “feasibly available.” The local VA medical facility has criteria to determine whether Non-VA Care may be used. If a Veteran is eligible for certain medical care, the VA hospital or clinic should provide it as the first option. If they can’t -- due to a lack of available specialists, long wait times, or extraordinary distances from the Veteran’s home -- the VA may consider authorizing VA payment for Non-VA medical care in the Veteran’s community. Non-VA Care is not an entitlement program or a permanent treatment option.

Providers can stay up-to-date with the Non-VA Care Program by subscribing to our e-mail distribution list. Include the words “SUBSCRIBE COMMUNITYPROVIDERS-L” and your name in the body. (For example, “SUBSCRIBE COMMUNITYPROVIDERS-L John J. Smith.”)

Individual eligibility determinations are complex and the facilities available at individual VA hospitals and clinic can vary widely.
Please contact your local VA health care facility for individual veteran eligibility questions or concerns.