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Ambulatory Care

Definition Ambulatory care refers to medical services provided to patients who do not need hospitalization or overnight stay. These services include diagnostic tests, treatments, and preventive care. This type of care can be provided in various settings such as outpatient clinics, specialized health centers, or doctors’ offices. Key Takeaways Ambulatory Care refers to medical services […]


Ambulatory care refers to medical services provided to patients who do not need hospitalization or overnight stay. These services include diagnostic tests, treatments, and preventive care. This type of care can be provided in various settings such as outpatient clinics, specialized health centers, or doctors’ offices.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ambulatory Care refers to medical services provided on an outpatient basis, where patients do not require hospitalization or an overnight stay.
  2. Within the VA healthcare system, ambulatory care includes a range of services such as primary care, mental health care, preventive care, diagnostic testing, and specialty care.
  3. Veterans who are eligible for VA healthcare benefits can access ambulatory care services through VA medical facilities, like VA medical centers, outpatient clinics, and community-based outpatient clinics.


Ambulatory care is an important component of VA benefits because it refers to a wide range of outpatient healthcare services provided to veterans who do not require hospitalization.

These services can include diagnostic tests, physical exams, mental health counseling, preventative care, and treatment for acute or chronic illnesses and conditions.

Focusing on ambulatory care enables the VA system to address a significant portion of the healthcare needs of veterans in a more cost-effective and convenient manner compared to hospital care.

Furthermore, it allows veterans to receive essential medical support, maintain their well-being, and improve their quality of life while preventing avoidable hospital admissions.


The purpose of Ambulatory Care within the context of VA benefits is to provide eligible veterans with convenient and accessible medical services that do not require an overnight hospital stay. By offering a range of outpatient services, Ambulatory Care aims to meet the unique needs of veterans, addressing their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

The primary intent of providing these services is to prevent, diagnose, and treat various health conditions and concerns in a timely manner, effectively promoting the overall health of veterans while minimizing the need for more intensive care. Ambulatory Care encompasses a wide range of medical services, such as primary care, preventive screenings, specialty consultations, laboratory tests, and rehabilitation services.

Among the benefits veterans receive, it includes access to mental health care, women’s health services, and dental care, depending on eligibility. This comprehensive approach to healthcare ensures that veterans receive the necessary support for managing chronic conditions, coping with mental health issues, or recovering from injuries and surgeries.

By focusing on accessible and tailored healthcare, Ambulatory Care significantly contributes to the well-being and quality of life experienced by our nation’s veterans.

Examples of Ambulatory Care

Ambulatory care refers to medical services provided on an outpatient basis, meaning that the patient does not need overnight hospitalization. Here are three real-world examples of VA Benefits related to ambulatory care:

Outpatient Clinics: Many Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC) offer outpatient clinics where veterans can receive primary care services, including consultations, diagnoses, and treatments for various health issues. These clinics focus on the overall health and wellbeing of veterans and help manage their chronic conditions.

Specialty Care Services: The VA provides specialized care services to veterans, such as orthopedics, cardiology, psychiatry, and neurology. These services typically involve consultations with experienced specialists who can diagnose and treat specific health conditions without requiring an overnight hospital stay. The services can be provided in specialized clinics or by telehealth.

Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy: The VA offers rehabilitation and physical therapy services to veterans who have suffered injuries or have ongoing physical challenges as a result of their service. These services may include outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language therapy. The goal of these programs is to help veterans restore and maintain the highest level of functioning and independence while managing pain and other symptoms.


FAQs for Ambulatory Care VA Benefits

What is Ambulatory Care?

Ambulatory Care refers to medical services provided to veterans on an outpatient basis, which may include diagnosis, observation, consultation, treatment, intervention, and rehabilitation services. This type of care allows veterans to receive the necessary medical attention without being admitted into a hospital.

Who is eligible for VA Ambulatory Care benefits?

Eligible veterans are those who have served in the active military, naval, or air service and have been discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. Veterans must be enrolled in the VA healthcare system to receive ambulatory care benefits. Eligibility may also depend on factors such as the nature of the disability, income, and length of service.

What services are included under VA Ambulatory Care benefits?

Ambulatory care services include regular check-ups, specialty care, mental health care, preventive screenings, and dental care. It also covers services related to assisting veterans with understanding their healthcare needs and providing appropriate care coordination. Veterans may receive ambulatory care at VA clinics, Vet Centers, Telehealth facilities, or selected community care providers.

How do I apply for VA Ambulatory Care benefits?

To apply for ambulatory care benefits, you can complete an Application for Health Benefits (VA Form 10-10EZ) online, by phone, or in person at your local VA healthcare facility. You can also mail your completed application to the Health Eligibility Center, 2957 Clairmont Rd., Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30329-1647.

Are family members eligible for Ambulatory Care benefits?

Certain family members of eligible veterans may qualify for VA healthcare benefits under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), which includes ambulatory care services. The spouse, surviving spouse, and dependent children of a veteran with a permanent and total service-connected disability or who died from a service-connected disability may be eligible for CHAMPVA.


Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Outpatient Services
  • Preventive Care
  • Primary Care
  • Rehabilitative Services
  • Telehealth

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