News: Have medical questions? Call the TRICARE Nurse Advice Line
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – It can be difficult to know if and when to seek medical help, so having professional help at a moment’s notice can be invaluable.
The Military Health System’s new Nurse Advice Line for TRICARE beneficiaries does just that.
“Instead of just leaving messages for the provider or the nurses, we can have more of our folks seen right here sooner, thanks to the Nurse Advice Line,” said Lt. Col. Susan Lee, 22nd Medical Operations Squadron medical services flight commander. “This is going to eliminate a lot of wasted time not having the patient wait around for a nurse to call back when they have other things to do.”
As of May 2, 2014, TRICARE beneficiaries in the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii can call the NAL toll-free 24/7.
The NAL is comprised of a team of registered nurses who are available to answer a variety of urgent healthcare questions. They can help you decide whether self-care is the best option, or if it’s better to see a healthcare provider.
“The nurses can give out great advice by their guidelines, and patients won’t have to step out of the house if the issue can be taken care at home,” said Lee.
There will always be a person on the line to address concerns. The NAL offers a variety of solutions for all TRICARE beneficiaries.
For pediatric issues, the NAL can route the beneficiary to a pediatric nurse. If follow-up is necessary or requested, the NAL can call the recipient back to check the child’s status a few hours later.
“The nurses on the line have great home care experience,” said Lee. “They can help the patient on how to treat a baby who has a rash, teething or running a fever.”
The NAL can make same-day appointments with the beneficiary’s primary care manager for TRICARE Prime recipients who are enrolled to Military Treatment Facilities.
For beneficiaries enrolled at McConnell, if the registered nurse at the NAL has determined that they need to be seen within 24 hours, if a same-day appointment is not available for them to book during the normal duty day, the NAL will transfer the caller to a staff member at McConnell Family Health Clinic to see if their provider may be able to see them and book an appointment for the same day.
If the patient cannot be seen, that staff member will direct them off base to an Urgent Care Clinic at that time.
When outside normal duty hours, if the NAL nurse determines the patient needs to be seen right away, the NAL will direct the beneficiary to the closest urgent care center and advise the PCM that an urgent care referral is needed. Referred patients will not have to worry about paying any point-of-service co-pays.
All other TRICARE recipients who are not enrolled with a MTF can receive professional health advice about their urgent health concern and when to seek urgent care. A customer service representative will verify the eligibility through the Defense Enrollment and Eligibility Reporting System when calling the NAL.
Beneficiaries with a health care concern or question will be connected with a registered nurse who will ask a series of questions to determine the next steps to provide the best advice possible.
If McConnell beneficiaries have an urgent concern when they call the McConnell appointment line, those patients will be automatically redirected to the NAL so they can speak to a Registered Nurse at the time. Dial 1-800-TRICARE to access the NAL. The NAL can also be reached through the 22nd Medical Group’s central appointment line at (316) 759-6300.