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Outpatient Care


The VA benefits term “Outpatient Care” refers to medical services provided to veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) without requiring an overnight hospital stay. These services can include preventive care, diagnostic tests, treatments, and therapies. Outpatient care is provided at VA medical centers, clinics, or through community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) to meet the healthcare needs of eligible veterans.

Key Takeaways

  1. Outpatient Care refers to medical services provided to veterans that do not require an overnight hospital stay. This can include preventive, diagnostic, rehabilitation, and specialty care.
  2. Eligible veterans can access a wide range of services under VA Outpatient Care, such as primary care, mental health services, dental care, vision care, and telehealth services.
  3. VA Outpatient Care is designed to accommodate veterans’ needs and improve overall health outcomes by promoting timely access to appropriate medical services in suitable settings, often available within a VA Medical Center or a community-based outpatient clinic.


Outpatient Care is an important term in VA benefits as it refers to a wide range of medical services provided to eligible veterans without requiring them to be admitted to a hospital or other healthcare facility.

These services, which include diagnostic tests, treatments, and preventive care, are crucial in maintaining the health and well-being of veterans while reducing the burden on inpatient care systems.

By offering accessible and cost-effective care, the VA ensures that veterans receive the care they need in a timely manner, allowing them to manage their medical conditions, maintain their quality of life, and ultimately reintegrate into society more smoothly after serving their country.


The purpose of Outpatient Care as a part of VA benefits is to provide easily accessible and high-quality healthcare services to veterans without the need for hospitalization. This is an essential element of the Veterans Health Administration’s holistic approach to care, as it allows for healthcare solutions that address a wide range of physical and mental health concerns.

The focus is on promoting veterans’ well-being and maintaining their independence, while ensuring they receive the necessary treatment to manage ongoing health issues or prevent new ones from arising. Outpatient Care is used for a myriad of health services, including preventive care such as screenings, vaccinations, or regular check-ups.

It also covers essential diagnostic services like laboratory tests, imaging studies, and specialist consultations. Additionally, outpatient care ensures that veterans have access to a broad array of medical treatments, therapies, and resources – ranging from mental health counseling to physical therapy and rehabilitation services.

This comprehensive approach to medical assistance allows eligible veterans to receive the care they need without lengthy hospital stays, thereby promoting a sense of self-sufficiency and autonomy among those who have served our nation.

Examples of Outpatient Care

Outpatient care refers to medical services that do not require a patient to be admitted to a hospital for an extended duration. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides outpatient care to eligible veterans as part of their benefits package. Here are three real-world examples of VA outpatient care:

Outpatient Clinic Appointments: VA outpatient clinics provide a variety of non-emergency medical services to veterans who do not require hospitalization. These can include general healthcare, specialty care such as cardiology, mental health services, and preventive care appointments like regular physical examinations or vaccinations.

Telehealth Services: The VA also offers telehealth services, allowing veterans to receive care remotely through digital communication tools. In this case, a veteran can virtually consult with their healthcare provider using video conferencing or secure messaging, making healthcare access more convenient for those who may not live near a VA facility or have difficulty traveling.

Urgent Care: VA beneficiaries can access urgent care services through the VA’s network of approved community providers. This care generally addresses non-life-threatening medical issues that need attention within 24 hours, such as minor injuries, flu symptoms, or infections. Urgent care facilities offer walk-in appointments, allowing veterans to receive prompt medical attention without needing to visit a hospital emergency room.

Outpatient Care FAQ

What is outpatient care in VA benefits?

Outpatient care is a type of medical assistance provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for eligible veterans. It includes services that do not require an overnight stay in a hospital, such as doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, screenings, and preventive care.

Who is eligible for outpatient care through the VA?

Veterans who are enrolled in the VA healthcare system and meet certain eligibility requirements are entitled to receive outpatient care services. Eligibility can be based on factors such as service-connected disabilities, income level, and available VA resources.

What types of services are included in outpatient care?

Outpatient care covers a wide range of medical services, such as primary care, specialty care, mental health care, dental care, physical therapy, vision care, audiology, and more. It also includes preventive screenings, vaccinations, and diagnostic tests like X-rays, blood tests, and imaging studies.

How do I access outpatient care services through the VA?

To access outpatient care services, you must first enroll in the VA healthcare system if you have not already. Once enrolled, you can schedule appointments with VA healthcare providers through the VA’s online patient portal, by calling the VA facility directly, or by utilizing the VA’s telehealth services.

Are there any out-of-pocket costs for outpatient care services?

Depending on your eligibility, there may be some out-of-pocket costs for certain outpatient care services, such as copayments for medications or non-service-connected care. However, many services, like preventive screenings and annual physical exams, are provided at no cost to eligible veterans.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Primary Care Services
  • Specialty Care Services
  • Preventive Care
  • Mental Health Services
  • Telehealth Services

Sources for More Information