United States Department of Veterans Affairs


If you're eligible for health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs, our goal is to provide you with the care you need in a VA facility. However, sometimes that isn’t possible…because you live too far from a VA facility, the specialist you need is not available at your VA, or it will take too long for you to be seen at a VA facility. In those cases, you may be referred to a community provider through the Non-VA Care program.

In most cases, having VA pay for care in the community requires pre-authorization. And, any care needed or recommended beyond the scope of that authorization must be approved by the VA facility that authorized the care.

In the event of an emergency when a VA facility is not the nearest medical facility, do not delay treatment by attempting to request VA payment authorization first. Simply proceed to the nearest emergency room to get the care you need.  A medical emergency is generally defined as a condition of such a nature that a prudent layperson would reasonably expect a delay in seeking immediate medical attention to be hazardous to life or health. Eligibility for VA payment of emergency care as well as deadlines for filing claims depend upon whether or not you have a service-connected condition and your specific eligibility for non-VA care. It is important to inform the non-VA medical facility treating you that you are a Veteran. If inpatient care is required and you desire VA care and payment consideration, always inform the non-VA medical facility staff that you want to transfer to a VA facility when your medical condition stabilizes. It’s important to contact the closest VA facility as soon as possible to find out more about VA payment of your emergency care.

Dependent Care

If you have been rated permanently and totally disabled for a service-connected disability, your dependents may be eligible for the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, or CHAMPVA. This program is a comprehensive health care program in which the VA shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries. Surviving spouses and children of certain Veterans are also eligible for CHAMPVA. To learn more, click here.

Foreign Travel

The Foreign Medical Program, or FMP, provides health care benefits to U.S. Veterans with VA-rated service-connected conditions who are residing or traveling abroad (excluding the Philippines). Under FMP, VA pays for certain necessary medical services associated with the treatment of those service-connected conditions. You can find out more at the FMP web site.

Patient-Centered Community Care

Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) is a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) program that offers health care contracts to provide eligible Veterans access to:

  • inpatient specialty care
  • outpatient specialty care
  • mental health care
  • limited emergency care
  • limited newborn care for enrolled female Veterans following birth of a child