New 'OneVA Pharmacy' simplifies filling prescriptions away from home

Jonathan Kaupanger
October 10, 2018 - 4:56 pm

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Filling your VA prescription just got easier.  Now with OneVA Pharmacy, traveling veterans no longer need to deal with the time consuming and convoluted process to request a new prescription.

Before OneVA Pharmacy, vacationing veterans who needed a prescription refill would need to find, schedule and visit an emergency room, urgent care center or pharmacy clinic visit.  The new streamlined process lets veterans refill prescriptions directly with any VA pharmacist.

“The way the VA’s are set up, if the vet wasn’t enrolled in the OneVA program, we would have to get a doctor locally to put in a new prescription for the patient,” says Ivan P. Cephas, Acting Chief of Pharmacy Services at the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center.  “Now we can go into their profile at their home VA, fill a refill and their home VA knows they got that filled as well.  It’s basic continuity for veterans.”

To participate, visit your local VAMC and inquire about enrolling in OneVA Pharmacy.  Once you’re in the program, any VA pharmacist can access any prescription that’s on file at any VAMC, with the exception of controlled substance prescriptions such as opioid or narcotic pain relievers and anti-anxiety medications.

“With controlled substance prescriptions, those are usually filed for 30 days and don’t have a refill,” explains Dr. Cephas.  Having a unified pharmacy also helps to reduce chances for mistakes, especially with controlled substances.

Veterans in areas hit by the recent hurricanes are seeing the benefits of OneVA Pharmacy already.  Recently Dr. Cephas received a call from a woman whose brother, a veteran, was displaced due to the storms.  The vet was heading up to the D.C. area, but they didn’t have any of the veteran’s medications.

“We got the patient's information and looked him up; thank God he was in the OneVA Program,” says Dr. Cephas.  “I was able to go in and fill his prescriptions that were needed.”

Dr. Cephas does have advice for caregivers of veterans: make sure your veteran is registered in the program.  VA pharmacists don't know who’s registered in OneVA Pharmacy or not, so you need to do it in advance.   “I’ve been able to see firsthand how this is helpful and very useful,” says Dr. Cephas.

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