Your Care Team
At VA, we take a team approach to health care—with you at the center. Research shows this kind of approach leads to better quality care, more satisfied patients, and fewer hospital visits. Find out who will care for you when you become part of the VA health care program.
Who will provide care for me at VA?
After you sign up for VA health care and choose your main VA location, we’ll assign you to a health care team called a Patient Aligned Care Team (or PACT). Your team will be made up of you, those who support you (like your family members and caregivers), and your health care providers.
Your team will include a:
- Primary care provider (your main doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant)
- Clinical pharmacist (a pharmacist who works with you and your primary care provider to make sure you’re taking the medicines that are right for you and your overall health)
- Registered nurse (RN) care manager (a nurse who makes sure your care is coordinated across all providers and services, and meets your health goals and your plan for care)
- Licensed practical nurse (LPN) or medical assistant and clerk (team members who help to support you and the other health care providers on your team)
When you need other services to meet your goals and needs, your team may call other providers—like social workers or specialists—to help with your care.
More about your VA care team
Jump to a section:
- How will my health care team work with me?
- Do I get to choose my primary care provider?
- What happens if my primary care provider leaves VA?
- Can I see a local community care provider, paid for by VA??
How will my health care team work with me?
Your team’s goal is to plan for all the care you need to help you stay healthy and well throughout your life. Your team will:
Build a partnership with you. You’ll be an active member of the team, and you’ll work with your team to plan and make decisions to meet your personal health goals. Your team will offer wellness care, education, and lifestyle coaching to help you stay healthy.
Provide or arrange for preventive care, such as immunizations (like flu shots) to prevent illness and screenings to help find diseases like cancer in their earliest stages—when treatment is most likely to be successful.
Help you get care in the ways that work best for you. This may include personal visits with your primary care provider, group clinics, and 24/7 telephone care. You can also get online educational information and secure messaging with your health care team through the My HealtheVet portal. Visit My HealtheVet.
Coordinate your care. Team members will meet often to talk with you—and each other—about your progress and goals. And they’ll coordinate any care you may need from specialists outside the team.
Do I get to choose my primary care provider?
No. You’ll choose the main VA location where you’d like to get care. We’ll assign you a health care team—including your primary care provider—based on the location you choose.
If you decide you want to change to a different primary care doctor, you’ll need to talk to your health care team leader or to the patient advocate at your VA medical center. Find a medical center near you.
What happens if my primary care provider leaves VA?
Your health care team will have a plan in place if your primary care provider is away or leaves VA. Your team will make sure you always have access to a qualified primary care provider and that you keep getting the ongoing care you need to continue with your health care plan.
Can I see a local community care provider, paid for by VA?
It depends. We may pay for you to receive care through the VA community care network if:
- We can’t provide the services you need, or
- We can’t make an appointment for you at 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
- You live more than 40 miles (driving distance) from the nearest VA medical facility, or
- You have to travel by air, boat, or ferry to get to the nearest VA medical facility, or
- You 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)
VA community care providers must meet our strict quality standards and be approved by us before they can provide care for you.