PHOTO: Sen. McCain poses with VA and CVS representatives at a news conference inside a Tempe CVS location.

(KFYI News) — Sen. John McCain on Tuesday announced a partnership between the Phoenix VA Hospital and CVS Pharmacies that will allow veterans to get immediate medical care at 24 CVS "MinuteClinic" locations around the Valley.

It's a pilot program that attempts to reduce the wait times for urgent and emergency care at the Phoenix VA.

Under the program, a vet with an urgent medical need such as strep throat, ear infections, sinusitis, vaccinations, minor cuts and burns, etc., would call the VA's nurse triage line (602 - 277-5551 Option 3, 800 - 554-7174 Option 3, or 602 - 222-6550) and consult with a nurse.  

After the nurse evaluates the patient over the phone, s/he can immediately suggest a couple of CVS MinuteClinic locations near the veteran's home and call to make an appointment.  A VA spokesperson said the appointment will usually be for a time within two hours of the call.

McCain said if the pilot project goes well, he anticipates the program could go national "within months".  He added that MinuteClinic locations are open seven days a week, including evening hours. "Why should a veteran on a weekend have to wait until Monday?  Why should a veteran have to wait until working hours?"