Not every veteran will ultimately choose to reside in the U.S. subsequent to their respective tours of duty and discharge. In fact, many vets opt to live overseas where their pensions go a considerable distance further. While this can pose a problem for those who require the care of Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics, the VA does has several outpatient clinics to serve veterans in some overseas locations.
Outpatient/Inpatient Clinic Locations
There are a handful of overseas VA outpatient facilities. These include facilities on Guam (Agana Heights), Saipan (Saipan), American Samoa (Pago Pago), Puerto Rico (San Juan), the Virgin Islands (St. Croix and St. Thomas) and the Philippines (Pasay in Metro Manila). All VA benefits are applicable in these countries/territories with the exception of the Philippines. Regarding the latter, only home loans and related programs are not available. Veterans are also entitled to free healthcare providing they have a service-connected disability. Travel expenses are paid for dependent on how far a vet has to travel to the clinic. In addition, in the Philippines, the VA outpatient clinic only treats medical problems that are service-connected and for which disability compensation is paid out.
While outpatient clinics are considerably smaller that stateside VA hospitals, regular medical care is available, including diagnostic testing, ambulatory care and minor procedures. And in the Philippines, contracted care with hospitals is on an authorization basis. The Philippines has the largest “standalone ambulatory care facility in a foreign country.” Indeed, many veterans are expatriates to the Philippines.
None of the overseas VA outpatient clinics have emergency rooms. In fact, online information is available on the Veterans Administration website providing vets with a hospital to visit in the event of an emergency. In the Philippines, pre-authorization is required before a veteran may receive care and be provided coverage by the U.S. government when visiting a hospital emergency room. How that is accomplished in the event of an actual emergency escapes me. Vets should expect the same level of care as stateside VA clinics and hospitals in the above mentioned locations.
At home or abroad, veterans should be aware of overseas VA outpatient clinics and the benefits available to them. Be sure to check the VA website for additional information regarding traveling outside the U.S. as it pertains to service-connected care facilities and VA benefits centers.