News: Family medicine offers later appointments
Story by Jason Bortz
PENSACOLA, Fla. – Beginning on Oct. 7, Naval Hospital Pensacola’s Family Medicine Clinic will have new hours to allow patients to make appointments later in the afternoon or evening. The new hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Friday.
"We want to see our patients when they want to be seen,” said Cmdr. Carolyn Rice, director of medical services, NHP. “We have heard from our patients that late afternoon and early evening hours are preferred due to their children's school schedules and work."
The new hours should also reduce the need for patients assigned to Family Medicine to use the Emergency Room for routine care, which is costly for the hospital and is not in the best interest of the patients.
“It is always better to see your Medical Home Port Team in Family Medicine than to go to the ER,” said Cmdr. Leo Carney, department head for the Family Medicine Clinic. “Your Medical Home Port Team knows you and your health care needs. If it’s an emergency, go to the ER, but if it’s possible to be seen by your Medical Home Port Team, then please make an appointment.”
Appointments with the Family Medicine Clinic, or any of the primary care clinics at NHP, can be made by calling (850) 505-7171, sending a secure e-mail utilizing RelayHealth or logging onto TRICARE Online at www.tricareonline.com and appointments can even be made for the same day.
Medical Home Port is a team based approach to primary health care that was implemented at NHP in 2009. Medical Home Port provides several benefits to patients such as primary care manager continuity, a team of health care providers that know the medical needs and history of their patients and consultants assigned to each team like case managers, diabetic specialists and behavioral health specialists. The team reviews all of the patient’s medical needs and ensures that anything required for the patient is addressed during the appointment.
“[Medical Home Port] reduces the redundancy of seeing multiple providers and the need for multiple appointments because we know our patients and their needs,” said Carney. “This improves the overall care our patients receive.”
Patients enrolled to any of the Medical Home Ports at NHP also have the luxury of using TRICARE Online to make appointments, access personal health data and request prescription refills. In addition, patients can securely e-mail their provider through RelayHealth to ask health questions, which could save them a visit to the hospital.
With the overall goal of patient satisfaction, NHP seeks to improve the patient’s health care experience while also increasing access to care, such as extending hours in clinics like Family Medicine and Pediatrics.
“We hope that these changes work to meet more of what our patients’ needs are,” said Rice. “We believe we know our patients best and want to provide them with the best care possible."