United States Department of Veterans Affairs
VA Health Care Upstate New York - VISN 2

Pharmacy Frequently Asked Questions

pills
 Pharmacy Contacts
 Prescription Refills (Automated System)

VA Health Care Upstate New York is proud to be your health care provider. We are committed to providing you with quality health care and services. As an enrolled patient in VA health care, you can obtain medication and medical supplies from VA’s formulary, as authorized by your VA provider(s).

Contact the VA health care facility where you receive care, for the most current prescription information.
Question If I am enrolled in VA health care, what benefits will I receive?

Answer You are eligible for inpatient and outpatient services, including preventive and primary care, rehabilitation, mental health and substance abuse treatment, home health, respite and hospice care, and prescription medications. You may be required to make a co-payment for these services.

Question What is a formulary?

Answer The formulary is a comprehensive list of approved medications. Like all health care systems, VA will provide medications that are on the formulary. This list has been carefully developed to include a full range of medications necessary to treat a variety of conditions.

If your current medication is not on VA’s formulary your VA provider will discuss alternative treatments available to you through VA. You can view our complete formulary by visiting our formulary Web site.

Question Can I get medication not on the formulary?

Answer Under certain conditions, you may be prescribed a drug that does not appear on the formulary. Your VA provider may request this non-formulary medication for you by completing a special request form. The non-formulary medication request must be approved by a committee. Your VA provider will inform you of a disapproval of a non-formulary medication request and discuss the use of alternative formulary agents with you.

Question Can I get prescriptions from my private physician filled at a VA pharmacy?

Answer No. In order to receive medication from VA, a VA health care provider must treat you and prescribe your medication. VA health care providers will work closely with your private physician to provide you with continuity of care. It is important for you to supply your VA provider with your medical records from your private physician.

Question Who can write my prescriptions?

Answer The VA pharmacy will only honor prescriptions written by your VA provider(s). VA cannot fill prescriptions that are written by private physicians.

Question Will the VA pay for a prescription filled at a non-VA pharmacy?

Answer No. VA is not responsible for payment of outside physician’s fees or medication. You or your private insurance company is responsible for these costs.

Question How do I get my medication(s)?

Answer Newly prescribed formulary medication(s) can be picked up at the VA pharmacy or can be mailed to your home. Prescriptions that are mailed come from a centralized pharmacy affiliated with your VA facility. Prescriptions that are mailed usually arrive within 14 days.

Question How do I get refills?

Answer Refills are processed through the mail and not for pickup at the pharmacy window. They should be requested at least three weeks before you run out of medication. Maintenance medication should be re-ordered as soon as it is received. This will allow ample time for processing and delivery. Please be sure to keep VA informed of any changes in your address that would result in your medications being delayed/shipped incorrectly.

Check to see if there are refills left on the prescription by looking at the bottom of the refill slip under the "last fill date."

Example of a pharmacy refill slip, noting the expiration date and number of refills left

If your VA provider has approved refills on your prescription, you can request your refill by:
  • Using a touch-tone phone to call our automated refill requestsystem.
  • Completing and mailing the refill request slip that comes with each prescription.
  • Leaving the refill slip with the pharmacy.
  • Utilizing My HealtheVet, the online health portal for veterans. Veterans who want to order prescriptions online need to be registered users and verified in person (see the Web site for further information).
Question Refilling Your Prescription(s)

Answer Please refill your prescription(s) through the nearest VA facility. When ordering, you will need your social security number and the prescription number(s) (Rx #). The Rx# is located under the name of the medication. Remember to allow 2-3 weeks for processing and delivery.

Example of a prescription lable, noting the RX# location
Question What if there are no refills remaining?
Answer If you do not have any refills remaining, and need to continue the medication, please contact your provider as early as possible for a renewal.

Question What if I have questions about my medications?

Answer During normal business hours, call your VA outpatient pharmacy and ask to speak to a pharmacist. The telephone number of the pharmacy can be found on your prescription bottle.