The Mike O’Callaghan Military Medical Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., recently began receiving veterans by ambulance transport from the local Southern Nevada community on a case-by-case basis.
The change directly supports the U.S. Air Force’s efforts to increase the facility’s level of care as it begins its transition to a level 3 trauma center in the coming months.
Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ North Las Vegas VA Medical Center does not accept ambulance transports, leaving the MOMCC as the only local, eligible federal facility to receive veterans via ambulance. As such, the VA and the Air Force are teaming up to ensure veterans currently enrolled in VA health care know of the expanded service and the eligibility requirements for it.
“We are excited and humbled to expand our care to veterans in Southern Nevada through increased access to our Emergency Department via civilian ambulance services,” said Col. Alfred K. Flowers, Jr., commander of the 99th Medical Group, which operates the MOMMC. “This increase in service was made possible by investment in additional personnel to improve the medical readiness of our healthcare teams who deploy around the world. Veterans will continue to receive other specialty care and inpatient care at the MOMMC as part of our long-standing joint venture partnership with the VA.”
The VA recommends veterans review the VA eligibility criteria for this expanded service to understand approved uses and VA reimbursement of ambulance transportation.
“If you believe your life or health is in danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away,” said Dr. Ramu Komanduri, VASNHS chief of staff. “During a medical emergency, veterans should immediately seek medical care. A medical emergency is an injury, illness or symptom so severe that without immediate treatment, you believe your life or health is in danger.”
VA may pay for emergency transportation provided by a community provider, but the following criteria must be met:
1) VA authorization of transportation in advance (whenever possible) or the veteran (or someone on their behalf) notifying the nearest VA facility within 72 hours; and
2) VA or other Federal facility was not reasonably available to the veteran; and
3) The care the veteran received was for a medical emergency.
To qualify for VA reimbursement of ambulance transportation and emergency medical care at another federal or community emergency department all five of the following elements must be true:
1) Care was provided in a hospital emergency department (or similar public facility held to provide emergency treatment to the public); and
2) The emergency was of such a nature that the veteran (or other prudent layperson without medical training) would reasonably believe that any delay in seeking immediate medical attention would cause their life or health to be placed in jeopardy; and
3) A VA medical facility or another federal facility was not reasonably available to provide the care; and
4) The veteran is enrolled and has received care within a VA facility during the 24 months before the emergency care; and
5) The veteran is financially liable to the provider of emergency treatment.
“As an eligible federal facility, we work with VASNHS daily and can easily assist any veterans we accept via ambulance with necessary VA notifications as well as coordination of their eligibility and care,” said Flowers.
“On any given day, we are coordinating care for more than 100 veterans in the local community,” said William J. Caron, director and CEO of the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System. “The Mike O’Callaghan Military Medical Center is our joint venture partner locally, and due to our long-standing relationship and proximity to each other, I can think of no better organization to assist us in expanding options and care for our veterans here in Southern Nevada.”
For more information on VA eligibility and payment for emergency transportation and care, review the following fact sheets:
FACT SHEET: Emergency Transportation (Ambulance)
FACT SHEET: Emergency Medical Care