Chapter 1 – Welcome

The goal of the VA health care system is to achieve excellence in patient care and customer satisfaction. Our mission is singular — to serve Veterans by providing the highest-quality health care available anywhere in the world. America’s Veterans and their families deserve nothing less.

This Veterans Health Benefits Guide is designed to provide Veterans and their families with the information they need to understand VA’s health care system—eligibility requirements, the enrollment process, enrollment priority groups,
copayments that certain Veterans may be charged and the health benefits and services available to help Veterans.

Additionally, inside you will find helpful information about My HealtheVet, Creditable Coverage for Medicare Part D, Income Verification and medically related travel benefits.

This guide is not intended to provide information on all of the health services offered by VA. If we have not addressed your specific questions, additional assistance is available at the following resources:

            Your local VA health care facility’s Enrollment Office
            VA toll-free 1-877-222-VETS (8387)
Overview of VA’s Nationwide Health Care System

You can expect VA’s highly qualified and dedicated health care professionals to meet your needs, regardless of the treatment program, regardless of the location. New locations continue to be added to the VA system, with the current
number of treatment sites now standing at more than 1,400 nationwide.

Today’s Veterans receive a Medical Benefits Package, which VA administers through a patient enrollment program. Enrollment in the VA health care system comes with the assurance that health and treatment services will be available
when and where you need them.

VA’s state-of-the-art electronic medical records allow your health care benefits to be completely portable throughout the system. If you are traveling or living temporarily at an address far away from your primary treatment facility, you can seek care at any VA health care facility across the country — without the hassle of having to reapply.

We have also developed a website — My HealtheVet — especially for Veterans. Through My HealtheVet (MHV), access to important information about your health is at your fingertips, 24 hours a day.

Overview of VA’s Medical Benefits Package

VA’s comprehensive medical benefits package offers care and services that are designed to:
         Promote good health
         Preserve your current health        
         Restore you to better health
This includes treating illnesses and injuries, preventing future health problems, improving functional abilities and enhancing quality of life.
We provide a full spectrum of medically necessary services, based on the judgment of your VA primary care provider and in accordance with generally accepted standards of clinical practice. These services include:
         Primary Care
         Health Promotion
         Disease Prevention
         Palliative Care
         Prescriptions For Medications
         Critical Care
         Mental Health Care
         Women’s Health Care
         Physical Therapy

VA Provides Health Services at Facilities Across the Nation

VA strives to provide access to all needed services. This may be on-site during inpatient hospitalization, at one of our primary or specialty care clinics, at a Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) or Health Care Center (HCC),
in a Community Living Center (formerly known as a VA nursing home), or in a residential care facility. However, all services may not be available at every location. Sometimes, there may be a need to travel to another VA facility or a community care facility to receive the necessary treatment. If that is the case, a VA provider will work to find the place best suited to provide the required services.

What to Know About Primary Care

Primary Care serves as the foundation of the VA health care system. Through Primary Care, there is easy access to skilled medical professionals who are familiar with the health care needs of Veterans and who understand the importance of developing long-term relationships with patients.

Among other things, a Primary Care Team will:
         Educate you and your family about the health care services available.
         Coordinate care across a spectrum of treatment options.
         Keep you informed about disease prevention programs.
Once enrolled, a Veteran will be assigned a Primary Care Provider at the first Primary Care appointment. The Primary Care Provider will be a member of the trained Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Primary Care Team if the Veteran has a spinal cord injury or disorder.
Your Eligibility Information
The information in this Veterans Health Benefits Guide reflects the benefits and services available to enrolled Veterans at the time it was published. Since VA policies are governed by law, changes to programs or eligibility may occur. If
you have questions, contact the Enrollment Coordinator at your local VA health care facility or call us at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).
Health Benefits Are Different for Each Veteran
While all enrolled Veterans enjoy access to VA’s comprehensive medical benefits package, certain benefits (for example, dental care) may vary from individual to individual, depending on each Veteran’s unique eligibility status.
This Veterans Health Benefits Guide contains general benefits information.