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VA partners with CVS to reduce patient wait times in Phoenix

Veterans in the Phoenix area will be able to use their federal healthcare benefits at CVS MinuteClinics to treat minor illnesses and injuries under a new pilot program, according to ABC News.

The program represents a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and CVS to decrease wait times for patients.

Veterans will reportedly not be bound by current restrictions outlined in the VA's Choice program, which only allows patients who have waited more than 30 days for care to schedule an appointment at another facility. Under the program, Phoenix VA nurses will be able to refer patients to CVS' MinuteClinics for care when "clinically appropriate," according to the report.

The collaboration is part of an ongoing effort by Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, MD, to integrate care between the VA and the private sector.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain lauded Dr. Shulkin's efforts to expand veterans' access to private care.

"Veterans in need of routine healthcare services should not have to wait in line for weeks to get an appointment when they can visit community health centers like MinuteClinic to receive timely and convenient care," Sen. McCain told ABC News.

The VA department previously experimented with a similar, smaller-scale program in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2016, according to the report.

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