* This site is privately owned and is not affiliated or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

Physician Fee Care Program


The Physician Fee Care Program, also known as the Veterans Affairs (VA) Fee Basis Program, is a program within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that allows eligible veterans to receive medical care from non-VA healthcare providers. This program is typically utilized when VA facilities are unable to provide the necessary services due to geographical inaccessibility, long wait times, or lack of specialized care. In such cases, the VA covers the costs of the non-VA care, allowing veterans to access the treatment they need.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Physician Fee Care Program offers eligible veterans access to medical care through non-VA healthcare providers, such as private physicians, clinics, and hospitals.
  2. This program aims to ensure veterans receive comprehensive healthcare services, especially in instances where VA facilities may be overburdened or geographically inaccessible.
  3. Under this program, the VA compensates non-VA healthcare providers for specialty care and services that the VA cannot directly provide, ensuring timely medical access and a continuity of care for participating veterans.


The VA benefits term, “Physician Fee Care Program,” is important because it plays a critical role in ensuring that eligible veterans receive comprehensive and timely medical care from private health care providers.

This program enables the Department of Veterans Affairs to procure community-based health care services for veterans when VA hospitals or clinics are unable to provide them due to capacity constraints, long waiting times, or geographical inaccessibility.

By offering these services, the Physician Fee Care Program enhances the quality of care for veterans, providing them with the necessary resources and support for their health care needs, while ensuring they lead healthy and productive lives post-service.


The Physician Fee Care Program is a vital element in the range of VA benefits offered to veterans, aiming primarily at enhancing their well-being by ensuring their access to comprehensive medical care. The program plays a crucial role in addressing the health care needs of veterans, especially those residing in rural or remote areas, as well as the ones needing specialized care, which might not be readily accessible through standard VA facilities.

By collaborating with a network of qualified private health care providers, this program allows eligible veterans to receive timely and efficient treatment, ultimately facilitating their swift recovery and reducing the burden on the VA system. Fundamentally, the purpose of the Physician Fee Care Program is to complement the VA’s conventional health care services and bridge any gaps that may arise due to geographical constraints, administrative limitations, or the unavailability of certain treatments.

Utilizing these additional resources, the program seeks to ensure that veterans receive the requisite medical attention, even if it necessitates seeking external support beyond the VA system. Consequently, it significantly contributes to upholding the VA’s commitment to provide veterans with high-quality health care, improving their overall well-being, and honoring their service to the nation.

Examples of Physician Fee Care Program

The VA Physician Fee Care Program provides Veterans access to medical care from non-VA providers in situations where the VA cannot provide the required care. This program ensures that eligible Veterans receive timely access to the care they need. Here are three real-world examples of the Physician Fee Care Program in action:

Example 1: A Veteran who lives in a rural areaA Veteran lives in a rural area where the nearest VA hospital or clinic is several hours away. They require specialized care for a heart condition that the local VA clinic cannot provide. Under the Physician Fee Care Program, the Veteran may receive care from a non-VA cardiologist at a private hospital closer to home, ensuring they can access the required treatment without the inconvenience of extensive travel.

Example 2: High demand for services at a VA facilityAt a particular VA facility, there is a high demand for services due to a large Veteran population in the area. As a result, the facility struggles to meet the needs of its patients within the required time frame. Using the Physician Fee Care Program, the VA can refer Veterans to non-VA providers in the area to ensure they receive the care they need in a timely manner, relieving pressure on the VA facility and upholding the standard of care for Veterans.

Example 3: VA facility unable to provide specialized careA Veteran has a rare condition that requires specialized care, but the VA facility where they typically receive care does not have the necessary expertise or equipment. The Physician Fee Care Program allows the Veteran to access the specialized care they need from a non-VA provider with expertise in treating their specific condition. This ensures the Veteran receives the appropriate care and treatment for their condition when it is not available through the VA Healthcare System.

FAQ: Physician Fee Care Program

What is the Physician Fee Care Program?

The Physician Fee Care Program is a program offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that allows veterans to receive healthcare services from non-VA providers. This program ensures that veterans can access timely and high-quality care when VA facilities are not available or accessible.

Who is eligible for the Physician Fee Care Program?

To be eligible for the program, veterans must be enrolled in the VA healthcare system, have a VA-approved referral or prior authorization, and meet specific clinical criteria. In some cases, veterans must also demonstrate that they face an excessive burden or travel time to receive care from a VA facility.

How do I apply for the Physician Fee Care Program?

Veterans do not need to apply for the program directly. Instead, your VA healthcare provider will determine if you require care through non-VA healthcare providers and will make a referral or prior authorization accordingly. You can discuss your eligibility with your VA primary care provider or specialty care provider.

What types of services are covered under the Physician Fee Care Program?

The program covers a wide range of healthcare services, including primary care, specialty care, urgent care, emergency care, and inpatient/outpatient hospital care. The specific services covered depend on the needs of the veteran and the terms of the VA referral or prior authorization.

Will I have to pay any out-of-pocket costs for using the Physician Fee Care Program?

Veterans may have to pay an out-of-pocket copayment depending on their priority group, type of service, and other factors. The VA will notify you of any required copayments when they authorize the non-VA provider to deliver care.

Can I choose my non-VA healthcare provider under the Physician Fee Care Program?

While the VA works with a network of non-VA providers, you may – in some cases – request a specific provider. However, this will depend on the provider’s participation in the network and availability. It is essential to discuss your preferences with your VA healthcare provider, who will help coordinate your care with the non-VA provider.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Outpatient Medical Services
  • Reimbursements for Providers
  • Non-VA Healthcare Providers
  • Community Care Network
  • Fee Basis Authorization

Sources for More Information