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Purchased Care Program


The Purchased Care Program, under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), refers to a system where the VA acquires healthcare services from non-VA providers for eligible veterans. This program is utilized when the required services are not readily available within the VA’s medical facilities, or when it is more convenient for the veteran to access care through non-VA providers. The goal is to ensure veterans receive timely and quality healthcare, without being limited to only VA facilities.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Purchased Care Program enables eligible Veterans to access healthcare services from community providers when the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) cannot provide the required care directly.
  2. The VA is responsible for coordinating and managing the care of Veterans, while making payments on their behalf to the community providers for the services rendered under this program.
  3. Community Care programs under Purchased Care include the Veterans Choice Program, Community Care Network, Patient-Centered Community Care, and other initiatives that expedite and improve veterans’ access to healthcare services.


The VA benefits term: Purchased Care Program is important because it allows eligible veterans to receive healthcare services from private-sector providers outside the traditional Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system.

This program aims to ensure that veterans gain access to timely and high-quality care, particularly when a specific treatment or service is unavailable within the VHA, or if the veteran faces challenges in accessing VA facilities due to geographic limitations or long waiting times.

As a vital part of the veterans’ healthcare system, the Purchased Care Program demonstrates the commitment of the Department of Veterans Affairs to meet the evolving needs of the veterans and provide them with the best possible healthcare support and experience.


The Purchased Care Program is designed to bridge the gap in healthcare services for eligible veterans by providing access to timely and high-quality care outside of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities. This program primarily serves as a significant aspect of the VA’s commitment to ensuring veterans receive the care they need, even if it is not readily available within the VA healthcare system.

By partnering with community care providers, the Purchased Care Program aims to minimize wait times and expand the scope of services available to veterans, ultimately catering to their diverse and dynamic healthcare needs. The Purchased Care Program is an essential tool for the VA in cases where veterans live in rural areas or far from VA facilities, where certain specialized services may not be offered, or when there is a high demand for care within the VA healthcare system that results in extended wait times.

To facilitate this process, the VA authorizes and coordinates care with community providers, ensuring veterans can access an extensive network of qualified healthcare professionals. Through this program, veterans can access a wide range of healthcare services, including primary care, specialty care, mental health, and emergency care, among others.

The Purchased Care Program not only demonstrates the VA’s commitment to offering comprehensive and tailored healthcare solutions but also underscores a larger effort to prioritize the health and wellbeing of the United States’ veteran community.

Examples of Purchased Care Program

The Veterans Affairs (VA) Purchased Care Program, also known as the Community Care Network or VA Community Care, has been designed to offer veterans the health care they need, even when they cannot access services at VA facilities. Here are three real-world examples of how the Purchased Care Program is employed:

Rural Veteran Care: A veteran living in a rural area may not have a VA health care facility nearby, making it difficult to access regular healthcare services. With the Purchased Care Program, this veteran can receive care from a local, non-VA healthcare provider within their community. This ensures that the veteran’s healthcare needs are met without requiring them to travel long distances to access care at a VA facility.

Specialized Healthcare Services: A veteran may require specialty care, such as heart surgery or cancer treatment, which is not readily available at the VA facility where they typically receive care. The Purchased Care Program allows them to be referred to a non-VA specialist in their community or elsewhere for the necessary treatment. This ensures that veterans receive the specialized care they need in a timely manner, without having to wait for the VA facility to establish the needed specialty services.

Emergency Medical Care: A veteran may experience a medical emergency and require immediate care. In such cases, it may not be feasible to transport the veteran to a VA facility. Through the Purchased Care Program, the veteran can receive emergency care from a non-VA hospital or emergency room closest to their location. The program covers the cost of the emergency treatment, ensuring the veteran receives life-saving care without having to worry about the financial burden during a crisis situation.These examples showcase the flexibility and accessibility the VA’s Purchased Care Program provides to ensure veterans receive the healthcare services they need, regardless of their location or specific medical requirements.

FAQ: Purchased Care Program

What is the Purchased Care Program?

The Purchased Care Program is a VA benefit program that allows eligible veterans to receive medical services from community providers outside of the VA health care system when VA services are not available or accessible.

Who is eligible for the Purchased Care Program?

Eligible veterans include those who are enrolled in VA health care, have been determined to require care that is not accessible or available at a VA facility, and meet certain other eligibility criteria. These criteria may include factors such as the veteran’s medical condition, distance to the nearest VA facility, and availability of VA services.

How does the Purchased Care Program work?

The Purchased Care Program works by allowing veterans to seek medical services from non-VA providers when authorized by the VA. The VA will coordinate with the community provider to ensure that the appropriate services are provided, and the VA will cover the cost of these services. Veterans are not responsible for paying any co-payments, deductibles, or other out-of-pocket expenses for authorized care received through the Purchased Care Program.

How can veterans access services through the Purchased Care Program?

To access services through the Purchased Care Program, veterans should first contact their VA health care provider or their local VA medical facility. The VA will then determine if the veteran is eligible for the program and if the requested services can be provided through Purchased Care. If approved, the VA will coordinate with the community provider to schedule an appointment and ensure the appropriate services are provided.

Can veterans choose their own community provider through the Purchased Care Program?

In most cases, the VA will work with veterans to identify an appropriate community provider that meets the veteran’s specific needs. However, veterans can also suggest a specific community provider for consideration. The VA will then review the provider’s qualifications to determine if they are an appropriate provider for the veteran’s needs.

What types of services are covered under the Purchased Care Program?

The Purchased Care Program covers a wide range of services, including primary care, specialty care, mental health care, dental care, diagnostic testing, and hospital care. The specific services that are covered for each veteran will depend on their individual health care needs and eligibility for the program.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Community Care Providers
  • Veterans Choice Program
  • Non-VA Medical Care
  • TRICARE for Life
  • Veterans Care Agreements

Sources for More Information