Did you know that the Department of Veterans Affairs offers a prescription refill and tracking service?
The VA Prescription Refill and Tracking tool lets you refill your VA prescriptions, track deliveries, and build lists to help you keep medications organized properly to best manage your health conditions. This tool is provided for eligible veterans and you can sign up with the VA MyHealthEVet portal.
Who Is Eligible For The VA Prescription Refill And Tracking Tool
Veterans are eligible to sign up for and use this tool if they meet all the following conditions:
- The veteran is enrolled in VA health care, and
- The veteran is registered as a patient in a VA health facility, and
- The veteran has a refillable prescription from a VA doctor that is filled at a VA pharmacy and processed by the VA Mail Order Pharmacy.
In order to use the VA Prescription Refill and Tracking Tool, eligible veterans must have or sign up for one of the following online accounts:
- An Advanced or Premium My HealtheVet account
- A Premium DS Logon account (used for eBenefits and milConnect)
- A verified me account created at VA.gov
What You Can Use The Prescription Tool To Do
Qualifying veterans can fill and track most medications, but there are certain exceptions which we will describe below. In most cases, veterans who sign up can use the service to:
- VA medicines refilled or renewed
- Wound care supplies
- Diabetic care supplies
- Other items available via the VA Mail Order Pharmacy
There are certain exceptions. The VA official site says that in certain cases a VA health care team may decide that certain medications cannot or should not be shipped. This may be handled on a case-by case basis. “In these cases,” the VA official site says, “…you’ll need to pick up your prescription from the VA health facility where you get care.”
Furthermore, some pain medicines (especially narcotics and other controlled substances) may not be refillable except via a new prescription from the VA provider every time you need to refill. This too may be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Other uses for the VA Prescription Refill And Tracking Tool include:
- Refill your VA prescriptions online
- Review past and current VA prescriptions
- Track delivery prescriptions mailed within the past 30 days
- Get email notifications on when to expect prescription delivery
- Create lists to keep track of all your medicines, not just VA prescribed medications
Other Important Information You Should Know
The VA will not mail prescriptions to overseas locations. Prescription mailings are limited to the United States and its territories
Prescriptions mailed to qualifying veterans by the VA “usually arrive” within 3 to 5 days according to VA.gov. For individual shipments you can review them on the website of the delivery service shown in the online Rx Tracker.
You should avoid gaps in your prescriptions by requesting all refills at least 10 days prior to running out of the current prescription.
What To Do If Your Prescription Does Not Arrive
The VA advises patients to begin by contacting the customer support division of the delivery service responsible for delivering the medication. That contact information and/or phone number is on delivery company’s official website.
If your delivery issue is something the company cannot assist you with, it may be necessary to contact the VA facility where the prescription was obtained-the phone number for the VA Pharmacy is located on the prescription label.
What To Do If You Mistakenly Receive Another Person’s Prescription Package
Mix-ups sometimes happen and you may get a delivery that was not intended for you. If you receive someone else’s prescription order, the VA requests that you DO NOT attempt to open the contents of any package not addressed to you.
“If the mailing label is for someone else, return the package to the delivery service. If it has your name on the package but it is not your prescription, contact the VA facility that issued the prescription,” according to the VA official site.
What To Do If You Need To Stop A Delivery
In cases where you need to stop a prescription from being sent, contact the VA facility that issued the prescription as soon as possible. This is especially important for those who may need to travel for long periods, those who may be changing addresses, etc.
What To Do If You No Longer Need The Prescription
If you have a condition that has improved and no longer requires the prescriptions you have been taking delivery of, contact the VA as soon as possible to make arrangements. It is very important to know that the VA Pharmacy Service doesn’t accept returned medications-including opioids and other controlled substances.
To safely dispose of medication you no longer need, follow the following steps:
- Dispose of all prescriptions in their original container. If there is a situation where these substances accidentally get ingested by someone else, this can assist in a poison control situation.
- Before disposing of your medication, be sure to completely obscure your name and prescription number on the label with a permanent marker or by other means to protect your private information.
- The VA official site advises patients to add water pills to dissolve them. You can also mix pills or liquid drugs with inedible material (potting soil, kitty litter, etc.)
- Place the medicine bottle in a container you cannot see through. Tape it securely shut. Place this container in the ordinary trash bin and not in a recycle bin.
In most cases, do not flush unneeded medications down the toilet or pour them down the drain.
Why? The VA advises, “Drugs flushed down drains can harm the water supply that we drink, and wildlife. Dispose of drugs the right way to prevent someone taking them by accident, or through an illegal sale. Protect children and pets from harm caused by accidental ingestion.”
That being said, there is advice from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which states that flushing certain “potent pain medications: may be necessary. The FDA official site states that “a small number of medicines “ may be especially harmful “and, in some cases, fatal with just one dose if they are used by someone other than the person for whom the medicine was prescribed.”
Which medications fall into this “flushable” category? They include, but are NOT limited to, the following:
- Diastat/Diastat AcuDial rectal gel
- Zohydro ER
You may feel uncomfortable with, or have an objection to, flushing medications. In such cases you can search in your local community for prescription “take-back” programs. According to Pharmacist.com, “city or county governments’ household trash and recycling services and community pharmacists are good sources of information for locating medicine take-back programs.”
You can also find links to national prescription drug take-back events from the official site of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News
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