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For Providers Serving Veterans Under CHOICE or Veterans Affairs Patient-Centered Community Care

Urgent prescriptions could be required for a variety of medical conditions such as acute pain management and infections. To help Veterans obtain urgently needed* prescriptions, providers should follow the steps below:

  1. Consult the Veterans Affairs (VA) National Formulary website to see which medications are available for prescribing: http://www.pbm.va.gov/PBM/NationalFormulary.asp (There are two file options: VA National Formulary sorted alphabetically by generic drug name and VA National Formulary sorted by VA Drug Class).
  2. Issue a prescription for up to a 14-day supply of VA National Formulary (VANF) medication and instruct the Veteran that he/she may take the prescription to any non-VA pharmacy of their choice to be filled at their own expense. Afterward, they may seek reimbursement from the Purchased Care office at their VA medical facility. (NOTE: While the practice is not encouraged, if a Veteran chooses to take an urgently needed prescription to a VA pharmacy to avoid out-of-pocket expenses, it will be filled if it follows the VA National Formulary. In these cases, it is required that the Provider provide a patient with a copy of the provider's care authorization letter/fax, which is required for prescriptions to be filled in a VA pharmacy.)

Routine prescriptions may also be needed to treat a variety of medical conditions. To help Veterans obtain routine prescriptions, providers should follow the steps identified below:

  1. Consult the VANF website to see which medications are available for prescribing: http://www.pbm.va.gov/PBM/NationalFormulary.asp (There are two file options: VA National Formulary sorted alphabetically by generic drug name and VA National Formulary sorted by VA Drug Class).
  2. Providers will be contacted by a VA pharmacist if the prescriptions they issue do not follow the VANF. In these situations, the provider can re-write the prescription for a VA National Formulary drug or they can complete a request for a medically necessary Non-Formulary drug (NOTE: It can take up to four days after receiving a completed non-formulary request to render an approval/disapproval decision). Providers are encouraged to prescribe VANF drugs whenever clinically possible to avoid prescription fulfillment delays and inconvenience to Veterans.
  3. The Provider should fax or mail the Veteran's prescription to the VA medical facility. Fax numbers and VA medical facility address information is available by clicking here. Alternately, the provider can issue a written prescription to the Veteran, who can mail or physically present it to his or her VA pharmacy for processing. (It is required that the provider supply the patient with a copy of the authorization letter/fax, which must accompany all prescriptions presented for filling in a VA pharmacy).
  4. Prescriptions for Schedule II medications may not be faxed by the provider; they must be mailed or presented in person in their original form. Prescriptions for Schedule III-IV medications may be faxed by the provider and must have a pen and ink (i.e., manual) provider's signature. Electronic signatures are NOT acceptable.

*An urgently needed prescription is one in which according to the provider's clinical opinion, the prescription cannot wait to be filled by a VA pharmacy and mailed to the Veteran. (NOTE: on average, it takes approximately four days for a prescription to reach a Veteran by mail after it is transmitted to a VA pharmacy by the provider.)