38 CFR 17.52 - Hospital care and medical services in non-VA facilities.
(a) When VA facilities or other government facilities are not capable of furnishing economical hospital care or medical services because of geographic inaccessibility or are not capable of furnishing care or services required, VA may contract with non-VA facilities for care in accordance with the provisions of this section. When demand is only for infrequent use, individual authorizations may be used. Care in public or private facilities, however, subject to the provisions of §§ 17.53, 17.54, 17.55 and 17.56, will only be authorized, whether under a contract or an individual authorization, for -
(i) A service-connected disability; or
(iii) A disability of a veteran who has a total disability permanent in nature from a service-connected disability, or
(iv) For a disability associated with and held to be aggravating a service-connected disability, or
(v) For any disability of a veteran participating in a rehabilitation program under 38 U.S.C. ch. 31 and when there is a need for hospital care or medical services for any of the reasons enumerated in § 17.48(i).
(2) Medical services for the treatment of any disability of -
(i) A veteran who has a service-connected disability rated at 50 percent or more,
(ii) A veteran who has been furnished hospital care, nursing home care, domiciliary care, or medical services, and requires medical services to complete treatment incident to such care or services (each authorization for non-VA treatment needed to complete treatment may continue for up to 12 months, and new authorizations may be issued by VA as needed), and
(iii) A veteran of the Mexican border period or World War I or who is in receipt of increased pension or additional compensation based on the need for aid and attendance or housebound benefits when it has been determined based on an examination by a physician employed by VA (or, in areas where no such physician is available, by a physician carrying out such function under a contract or fee arrangement), that the medical condition of such veteran precludes appropriate treatment in VA facilities;
(3) Hospital care or medical services for the treatment of medical emergencies which pose a serious threat to the life or health of a veteran receiving hospital care or medical services in a facility over which the Secretary has direct jurisdiction or government facility with which the Secretary contracts, and for which the facility is not staffed or equipped to perform, and transfer to a public or private hospital which has the necessary staff or equipment is the only feasible means of providing the necessary treatment, until such time following the furnishing of care in the non-VA facility as the veteran can be safely transferred to a VA facility;
(4) Hospital care for women veterans;
(5) Through September 30, 1988, hospital care or medical services that will obviate the need for hospital admission for veterans in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, except that the dollar expenditure in Fiscal year 1986 cannot exceed 85% of the Fiscal year 1985 obligations, in Fiscal year 1987 the dollar expenditure cannot exceed 50% of the Fiscal year 1985 obligations and in Fiscal year 1988 the dollar expenditure cannot exceed 25% of the Fiscal year 1985 obligations.
(6) Hospital care or medical services that will obviate the need for hospital admission for veterans in Alaska, Hawaii, Virgin Islands and other territories of the United States except that the annually determined hospital patient load and incidence of the furnishing of medical services to veterans hospitalized or treated at the expense of VA in government and non-VA facilities in each such State or territory shall be consistent with the patient load or incidence of the provision of medical services for veterans hospitalized or treated by VA within the 48 contiguous States.
(7) Outpatient dental services and treatment, and related dental appliances, for a veteran who is a former prisoner of war and was detained or interned for a period of not less that 181 days.
(8) Hospital care or medical services for the treatment of medical emergencies which pose a serious threat to the life or health of a veteran which developed during authorized travel to the hospital, or during authorized travel after hospital discharge preventing completion of travel to the originally designated point of return (and this will encompass any other medical services necessitated by the emergency, including extra ambulance or other transportation which may also be furnished at VA expense.
(9) Diagnostic services necessary for determination of eligibility for, or of the appropriate course of treatment in connection with, furnishing medical services at independent VA outpatient clinics to obviate the need for hospital admission.
(11) For completion of evaluation for observation and examination (O&E) purposes, clinic directors or their designees will authorize necessary diagnostic services at non-VA facilities (on an inpatient or outpatient basis) in order to complete requests from VA Regional Offices for O&E of a person to determine eligibility for VA benefits or services.