Allow Veterans the option to choose either a primary care provider (for those with chronic medical problems that need to be monitored closely and often), or acute medicine or "walk-in" providers (for those who are basically healthy and just have a medical issue that needs attention within a day or so that doesn't necessarily meet the requirements for an ER visit.) As a young and healthy Veteran, who is required to have a PCP, it is frustrating to call for simple things such as head colds, pink eye, etc and be told "Well your provider has an opening in 3 weeks." This would eliminate unnecessary ER visits and wait times, and the costs associated with sending vets to outside hospitals for urgent care issues (which occurs at many CBOC's where getting to the VA ER is impossible) Many veterans with chronic medical problems make their next monthly appt's on the way out of that day's appt just to ensure they "get in" per se, eliminating access to care for the urgent issues. Also, vets with acute issues are told "you can't see another provider, you have to see your PCP." But after going through nursing triage, the nurse hunts down another provider to see the Veteran in the end. Final point-it would eliminate the stress of the providers who put all their energy into trying to prevent the chronic patients from getting worse, and then coming back to their desks with multiple phone and CPRS messages of dozens of other patients with urgent issues that they have to deal with at the end of the day...when it may already have gotten past the point of a quick fix! As a Veteran myself and a VA employee (of inpatient and outpatient clinic care) I have been on both the giving and receiving end of a poor system. At a previous VA job in a CBOC, I worked with both doctors and NP's who would have loved to be doing only one of the above options on a daily basis, and I'm sure they are not the only ones...
Idea No. 8681