News: Rader Clinic prepares for self-service Tricare
By Jim Dresbach
Pentagram Staff Writer
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - As of April 1, Andrew Rader Health Clinic’s walk-in Tricare Service Center will be replaced with online and telephone communication options, and the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall health care staff is ready to help direct those beneficiaries to the options that will best meet health care needs.
The assistance is a part of an on-going campaign to ensure superior customer service at the clinic.
Tricare Service Center functions include health care enrollment and medical plan purchasing, filing or checking a claim, viewing referrals and prior authorizations, finding a doctor or specialist, changing a primary care manager, coverage guidelines, plan comparisons and prescription management. After March 31, all of these inquiries can be done directly by the beneficiary by logging on to www.tricare.mil or with the help of a Tricare agent by calling 1-877-TRICARE (874-2273).
“This is an improvement in accessibility,” Rader Clinic Commander Lt. Col. Soo Lee Davis said of the revised Tricare options. “You can do this from anywhere at any time. We understand that there may be a small group of the population that we serve that wouldn’t have gotten the information, especially here at Rader, where we serve a large number of retirees, who may also be uncomfortable seeking help on the phone or online.”
In those cases, where beneficiaries arrive in person, there is a plan to redirect them or help them as much as possible, said Davis.
“Say somebody walks in, and they haven’t been informed, or they weren’t sure what the walk-in Tricare Service Center closing was all about. Our benefits adviser and patient advocate will work with the beneficiary to show them where they can go online or what telephone number they can call,” added Rader Deputy Commander of Administration Maj. Michael Ronn. “If they have a question or two, our folks will be able to help them, whether it’s with online navigation or what questions to ask the Tricare service agent on the phone.”
Improvements, upgrades continue at Rader
In order to provide “legendary customer service,” Davis mentioned that clinic enhancements have been implemented to improve the patient’s overall experience. These improvements include promoting a secure medical messaging system called RelayHealth and an improved pharmacy queuing system.
“We want to improve the patient experience from the moment they make an appointment to the moment they leave the clinic,” said Davis. “There are a couple of areas that we noticed where there’s room for improvement. First is how patients communicate with their healthcare team. A secure messaging system is a wonderful tool to improve the convenience and accessibility from a beneficiary to their healthcare team.”
With the secure messaging system, Rader patients can register for access and begin using the online tool to request appointments, get lab results and renew prescriptions that are out of refills, among other services.
“The messaging system really helps to empower the patient and is a wonderful alternative to calling on the phone,” Davis said.
Already boasting quick prescription filling and refilling, Davis wants to improve the experience for prescription seekers even more. Rader implemented a double queuing system to reduce the amount of time standing and waiting in a line. With the multi-step program, a patient takes a numbered ticket and then takes a seat. When their number is called, prescription information is shared between the Rader pharmacy staff and the patient. The patient again takes a seat and waits for the prescription to be filled. Once the prescription is filled, the patient is called to the window to get the prescription.
The previous service process required customers to stand to place prescription orders, which during peak periods created long lines, long periods of standing and a large number of complaints, according to Davis.
“We have a lot of retirement age beneficiaries here and some are uncomfortable standing for long periods of time,” Davis said. “Our wait times are about the same, but complaints about the pharmacy experience have reduced significantly since the change was implemented.”
Davis said the clinic is also currently conducting a campaign to boost enrollment since adding two primary care managers, Drs. Savithri-Chandana Veluri and Lucy Hsieh.
Davis said the addition of these two physicians equates to “lots of room” for new pediatric family members, as well.