VA Community Care Network Program Provider for Addiction Treatment

VA Community Care Through American Addiction Centers

Veterans are at a higher risk of developing substance use disorder (SUD) than the general public. Deployment in the military is associated with abusing various substances, such as tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, as well as other risky behaviors. At the same time, zero-tolerance policies and strict regulations create stigma, which is why not many veterans seek treatment.1

While SUD isn’t a huge problem among active service members, 1 in 10 veterans has been found to abuse substances, which is higher than the general US population. This is why the availability of treatment options is essential.1 

American Addiction Centers (AAC) provides evidence-based treatment for veterans with the help of Veteran Affairs Community Care Network (VA CCN), a veterans’ healthcare provider. If you’re looking to get treatment for yourself or your struggling loved one who is also a veteran, this might be a great place to start. 

What Is the VA Community Care Program Network?

The VA Community Care Network enables veterans to get necessary care. What’s unique about this program is that it allows veterans to get treatment in their local community. In other words, they can receive care from local healthcare providers outside of VA.2

This is a great option for veterans who cannot get the care they need through VA. At the same time, this healthcare option is still paid for and provided on behalf of Veteran Affairs. This allows veterans to get care at civilian facilities relying on the same benefits they would get from VA treatment centers.2

There are certain factors that determine VA community care eligibility, and not every participant of the VA healthcare can also get into the VA Community Care Program. It’s also based on individual veteran’s circumstances and any specific needs they might have. Additionally, VA must authorize community care before the veteran can be eligible to get treatment from a specific community facility.2 

Who Qualifies for the Veterans Community Care Program?

There are several things that are required for you or a loved one to qualify for the Veterans Community Care Program. The first necessary step is that you must already be a participant of VA healthcare. A staff member of the VA should also grant you approval. For this to happen, at least one of these requirements has to be met:3

  1. You require a service that is not available at a registered VA facility.
  2. You live in a state or territory where there is no full-service VA facility available. 
  3. When it comes to distance, you qualify for the “grandfather” provision. In other words, you must have been eligible for the 40-mile criterion under the sunset Veterans Choice Program (VCP) before June 6, 2019, and you still reside in a location that meets that same criterion. 
  4. No VA facility can provide you with the necessary care at a reasonable distance, within a certain time frame. This usually means a location no more distant than a 60-minute average drive, and the care should be provided within 28 days.
  5. Both the referring professional and the VA agree that it would be best for you to receive care at a community facility. 
  6. You cannot get service at a VA facility that meets quality standards.

How Does Community Care Work?

Most circumstances require eligible veterans to get approved by the VA to receive care at a community facility. This keeps you from being billed for the provided services. Most of the time, VA staff members are the ones responsible for giving approvals and not the personnel from civilian facilities.2

Once you get approved, you can get an appointment with a facility from a VA Community Care provider list. The VA should send the provider the referral and your medical documentation in addition to setting up an appointment. A community provider is the one who should make sure you’re eligible for follow-ups if they are required.2

Thanks to The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), all health plans and insurers must provide the same level of benefits for substance abuse and mental health services as they would for medical and surgical care.4 Therefore, VA Community Care can cover SUD treatment.5 

How Much Does Community Care Cost?

The costs of VA Community Care are the same as costs you would have under your regular VA healthcare. Depending on your exact plan, you might be required to pay a copayment. For example, if you require urgent care, the amount of copayments depends on your assigned priority group, as well as on the number of yearly visits.2

Keep in mind that, even for urgent care, you cannot copay your VA community care network provider directly. Instead, you’ll be billed through the standard VA billing process.2

Difference Between Veterans Community Care Program and Veterans Choice Program

Veterans Choice Program was a program that allowed veterans to get treatment for their SUD and other medical issues through community healthcare providers. However, the program stopped being effective on June 6, 2019. Still, the state helped all veterans who were users of VCP switch to the Veterans Community Care Choice program, so they could continue getting the healthcare they used to have. The Community Care program is the updated version of the VCP in a way.6

Community care is most needed due to the heavy alcohol use in veterans. In fact, according to a 2017 study that explored the use of substances in veterans, 56.6% of veterans use alcohol and about 7.5% of them reported heavy alcohol use in a month prior to the survey. Out of all veterans who have entered treatment, approximately 65% struggle with alcohol abuse and binge drinking. This is almost double the general US population.1

What Are the Benefits of the VA Community Care Program Network?

VA Community Care Program offers similar benefits to those offered by VA. The biggest difference is that this program is applicable to community facilities.2

Most eligible veterans will get the Basic Medical Benefits Package for Veterans. Some of the benefits it provides include:7

  • Preventive care. 
  • Primary care.
  • Specialty care. 
  • Diagnostic care.
  • Inpatient and outpatient care.

Some other programs include additional benefits, such as dental care, foreign medical care, or even the possibility for alternative payment methods for veterans who live in a challenging financial situation.7,8

What Type of Treatment Is Offered for Veterans?

VA Community Care Program can give you the same type of care as regular VA services. This includes a range of options for those seeking SUD treatment, no matter if you’re binge drinking or dealing with some other form of addiction. Most programs and therapy options are personalized and depend on the individual’s needs and requirements.5

VA can offer medication treatment for those who require it. This includes:5

Additionally, VA can help veterans get specialized treatment for co-occurring disorders, most notably, PTSD and depression. It can also cover various therapy options in both inpatient and outpatient settings, such as:5

How Do I Find a VA Community Care Network Provider?

Whether you’re looking for professional treatment options in Texas or acknowledged rehab facilities in California, as well as across the state, you should consider contacting your VA treatment provider and check whether you’re eligible for the VA Community Care Program.2 Then, a team of professionals will help you make an appointment upon receiving authorization for payment.2  

There are several ways you can find a treatment facility among the VA network of private providers:2

  • Calling a Veterans community care program phone number and asking a staff member to find a facility on your behalf
  • Using VA Online Scheduling and a location finder to find a treatment facility. 

Frequently Asked Questions