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Where You’ll Get Care

When you sign up for VA health care, you become part of the country’s largest integrated health care system—with more than 1,200 care locations serving nearly 9 million Veterans each year. Learn more about where you’ll get care.

Where do I go for care?

You’ll receive regular care at one VA location of your choice. If you need specialized medical treatments and services, we may refer you to other locations as well. Your health care team will use our electronic medical record system to coordinate your care no matter where you are.

Care settings may include:

  • VA medical centers. These centers offer a range of services:
    • All centers provide traditional hospital-based services—like surgery, critical care, mental health, and physical therapy.
    • Most centers provide medical and surgical specialty services—like oncology (cancer care), geriatrics (elder care), and neurology (care for conditions of the brain and nervous system).
    • Some medical centers also offer advanced services—like organ transplants and plastic surgery (reconstructing or repairing parts of the body in the treatment of traumatic injury).
      Find a medical center near you.
  • VA community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs). These clinics provide the most common outpatient services (like health and wellness visits) so you can take care of routine appointments in a more convenient location. We keep expanding our network of CBOCs to more rural locations so we can help you access care closer to home. Find a clinic near you.
  • Vet Centers. These centers provide community-based counseling, outreach, and referral services to Veterans who served in a combat zone as well as to their families. Mobile Vet Centers also help bring care to more rural locations.
    Learn more about Vet Centers.
    Find a Vet Center near you.
  • VA Community Living Centers and other assisted living or residential (live-in) settings. These places provide support for Veterans who need more intense nursing care and help with everyday tasks (like bathing, dressing, or taking medicines). Learn more about assisted living and residential care.
  • Your own home. If needed, you may get medical treatment, nursing care, or help with everyday tasks in the comfort of your own home. Learn more about home health care.

What if the nearest VA location can’t provide the services I need?

Your VA provider will work with you to make sure you get the care you need. You may need to go to another VA location or to a local VA community care provider. VA community care providers have contracts with us to provide care to Veterans. Learn more about VA community care.


More about where you’ll get care

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Where do I get care if I live in a rural area, far from a VA medical center?

You may be able to get care:

You may also qualify to receive local community care through the Veterans Choice Program if you:

  • Live more than 40 miles (driving distance) from the nearest VA medical facility, or
  • Can’t get an appointment from the nearest VA medical facility within 30 days of the clinically indicated date (the date you and your VA provider agree should be the next date you’re seen for care)—or, if we can’t determine this date, the date you’d prefer to be seen next, or
  • Have to travel by air, boat, or ferry to get to the nearest VA medical facility, or
  • Face an excessive burden in traveling to your nearest VA medical facility (like geographic challenges, environmental factors, or a health problem that makes it hard for you to travel)

Learn more about the Choice program.


Where should I go for care in an emergency?

Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. You don’t have to contact us in advance. (Note: We consider an emergency to be a condition that a reasonable person believes will put your health or life at risk if you don’t get treatment right away.)

If you’re far from a VA medical center, we may pay for emergency care in a non-VA setting. Be sure to contact your nearest VA medical center as soon as possible—and ask to talk to the patient transfer or patient administration representative. Payment for emergency care in a non-VA setting ends when a VA provider concludes that you’re stable enough to be transferred to a VA medical center.

For more information, call your local VA medical center’s enrollment coordinator. Or, get more details on emergency care coverage.


What should I do if I move?

Let us know right away so we can help set up care in your new location. To change your address, call us at 877-222-VETS (877-222-8387). If you’re moving outside the U.S., you’ll need to sign up for our Foreign Medical Program. Through this program, we’ll pay for certain needed health care services received in foreign countries to treat a service-connected disability or a disability that’s making a service-connected condition worse. Learn more about our Foreign Medical Program.


What if I need care while traveling?

Let us know in advance so we can plan for your care at a VA location near where you’ll be staying. Please give us at least 4 to 6 weeks’ notice if you can.

Please give your VA care team:

  • Your travel destination(s) and temporary address
  • A telephone number where we can reach you while you’re away
  • Your arrival and departure dates
  • Any specific care concerns

We can also mail prescription refills to you at your temporary address. Just be sure to allow about 2 weeks for the refills to arrive. Refill your prescriptions.

For more information, contact your care team or the Traveling Veteran Coordinator at your local VA medical center. Find a medical center near you.

Note: If you’re planning to travel outside the U.S., you’ll need to sign up for our Foreign Medical Program. Learn more about our Foreign Medical Program.


Can you help me get to and from appointments?

Yes, we may be able to help you get to and from appointments in certain cases. Or, we may pay you back for the cost of transportation if you qualify for help. Learn more about VA transportation services.


Can you help me cover travel expenses if I need to travel for care?

Yes, we may be able to help with travel expenses if you need to travel for care. Learn more about VA transportation services.

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