Emergency care in non-VA facilities

By Raymond Taylor
SUN Columnist

Guidelines and recommendations for emergency care in non-VA facilities are summarized as follows.

A medical emergency is when you have an injury or illness that is so severe that without immediate treatment, the injury or illness threatens your health or life. In your best judgment, if you believe your health or life is in danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

The nearest VA Medical Center must be notified as soon as possible, within 72 hours, so you as the veteran are better aware of services the VA may limit payment for. You, your family, friends or hospital staff may make this notification. Provide the VA with information about your emergency event and services being provided to you. Ask the VA for guidance on how they will consider reimbursing these emergency charges on your behalf, so you can plan accordingly. The veteran bears the ultimate responsibility of VA notification.

If the doctor wants to admit you into the hospital because the admission is an emergency, the veteran is still required to notify the VA. If a VA bed is available, and the veteran can be safely transferred, the veteran must move to the VA Hospital. Refusal will result in VA not paying for any further care.

Note: If the veteran leaves the emergency room prior to being treated by a physician, the VA may not consider claims for that emergency event, and the veteran may be liable for some or all resulting ambulance and emergency room charges, regardless of veteran eligibility.

Payment by the VA depends on VA eligibility. The VA may pay all, some or none of the charges, based on the veteran’s service-connected conditions, or non service-connected conditions. The veteran may also have co-pays based on VA enrollment. Sometimes the extent of healthcare services reimbursable by the VA is limited by federal law.

A veteran’s enrollment in the VA HealthCare System may affect eligibility for emergency care at VA’s expense.

The VAMC Albuquerque, N.M. emergency notification number is (800) 465-8262, Ext. 5739.


I will be out of the office May 19-24 for training in Denver. I will be available by cell phone. Call and leave a message so I can call back during breaks in the training.


For further information on VA benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office, located at the Senior Center in the Pagosa Springs Community Center, on Hot Springs Blvd.

The office number is 264-4013, fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-3590, and e-mail is raytaylor@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4, p.m. Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to enroll, and for filing in the Archuleta County VSO office.


The following veterans groups meet in Pagosa Springs:

American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month, 7 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

American Legion Post 108 Ladies Auxiliary: second Tuesday of the month at 4 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

Veterans for Veterans: every Tuesday, 10 a.m., Quality Inn.

Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: every other Monday, 6 p.m., St. Patrick’s Episcopal Parish Hall, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Charlotte, 731-1025.

Point Man Ministry (veterans): every Thursday, 9 a.m., Crossroads Church, 1044 Park Ave.


Durango VA Outpatient Clinic: 247-2214.

Farmington VA Center: (505) 327-9684.

The Veterans Crisis Line offers text 838255.free, confidential support to veterans in crisis, as well as their family and friends 24/7, 365 days a year. Call (800) 273-8255, chat online, or text 838255.

This story was posted on May 16, 2013.

One Response to Emergency care in non-VA facilities

  1. vincent ginardi

    May 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    please note that pointman is meeting every tues @830 am @buffalo inn thank you vincent ginardi pointman pagosa outpost leader 403 5077