Chapter 4 – Getting Started with VA Health Care

The First Appointment
When applying for enrollment, Veterans may request an appointment. Otherwise, enrolled Veterans may request an appointment either in person or by calling their local VA health care facility. Female Veterans may also request an appointment through the local Women Veteran Program Manager (WVPM), who will assist with coordination of care.
How to Get a Veterans Identification Card
The Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is the gateway to quick access to benefits at VA health care facilities. After enrollment, Veterans may go to their local VA health care facility to have a picture taken. VA will then mail the VIC within a few days.   
Is a VIC Like an Insurance or Credit Card?
No. VIC is not a credit card or an insurance card, and it does not authorize or pay for care at non-VA facilities.
Although the VIC does not contain a Social Security number, date of birth or other sensitive information on the face of the card, that information is coded into the magnetic stripe and barcode — so be careful Take precautions to safeguard your VIC.

How Can My HealtheVet Improve Quality of Care?
My HealtheVet is a website created especially for Veterans. It can be used to:
         Get accurate health information from trustworthy sources. 
         Link to VA benefits and services. 
         Refill VA prescriptions and get information about medicines. 
         Read VA news and feature stories. 
         Create a personal health journal.
Why Should I Keep a Personal Health Journal?
A personal health journal is the record of your health history and needs. You can use it to do any of these things:
Keep track of all your providers.
Keep track of your military health information.
Record your personal health history.
Keep track of your current vital readings, such as blood pressure or blood sugar, and monitor them over time.
Keep a list of your medicines.
Record your physical activity or food intake each day.
Record your emergency contacts.
What if I Move or Live in More Than One Location?
VA encourages Veterans to receive the majority of their care through their local health care facility and Primary Care  Provider. However Veterans may receive care at any VA health care facility. 

If a Veteran travels a lot or lives in more than one location, he or she may need to arrange for care at two or more VA facilities. When planning extended travel outside the usual VA care area, remember to give the Primary Care Team and pharmacy:
         A temporary address and phone number. 
         The starting date at the new address and the expected date of return.
VA can mail prescription refills to a temporary address. Be sure to allow plenty of time — approximately two weeks — for the refills to arrive.