Call Us First: A US Family Health Plan Emergency Care Pilot Program

Deciding where to go for the treatment of a medical condition is not always easy. Thankfully, US Family Health Plan member organization, Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed), has helped remove the guesswork from members’ emergency care needs.

PacMed, which serves US Family Health Plan members in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, recently introduced a pilot program – “Call Us First” – to encourage members to call an after-hours medical care hotline to consult with a doctor before visiting the emergency department. Through this program, PacMed educates both patients and providers about the benefits of seeking medical care with a primary care physician versus relying solely on the emergency department.

Call Us First launched at the Federal Way and Puyallup, Washington, PacMed clinics where utilization rates among members under age 65 were identified as higher than average. US Family Health Plan members in the area received information packets at home and following appointments to educate them about the program. Participating clinics set aside early morning appointments for members who called overnight so they could receive timely care for health conditions that did not require an emergency room visit.

Working with local clinics, PacMed set a goal of reducing emergency department utilization rates by 5% at each clinic for the target population. PacMed uses a program called EDIE (Emergency Department Information Exchange) to let clinics know how they are doing by receiving real-time updates when a member uses the emergency department and relaying that information back to the clinics.

With the program already receiving a positive response – emergency department use is down, and members are using the hotline – PacMed is planning to roll out the Call Us First program to all of its clinics in Washington state this year.

“Call Us First is an excellent way to improve patient access to care while reducing the strain on our emergency departments. This program is a prime example of the US Family Health Plan’s population-health approach, which is effective at keeping our members out of the emergency department and healthy by providing the tools they need to take greater control of their healthcare,” says Moung Finh, Executive Director, US Family Health Plan at PacMed.

US Family Health Plan members are encouraged and empowered to invest in their own health through wellness initiatives – an approach that leads to fewer hospitalizations and emergency department visits. When they do need medical attention, US Family Health Plan members enjoy an integrated care network of nearly 64,000 providers across the country who understand their military background and provide top care satisfaction.

To learn more about the US Family Health Plan, explore the rest of our website.

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What is the US Family Health Plan?

For over 30 years, the US Family Health Plan has provided a patient-centered approach to health care for active-duty U.S. military family members, activated National Guard and Reserve family members, military retirees and their families. Over 150,000 US Family Health Plan members nationwide enjoy access to quality health care with top-rated patient satisfaction through six regional TRICARE Prime providers.

Many of the benefits of being a member of the US Family Health Plan, as well as how the US Family Health Plan serves its members, are laid out in a recent educational video, which you can watch here.

The US Family Health Plan has been labeled a model for reform for the Military Health System and has been applauded for exemplary patient satisfaction, having far surpassed the patient satisfaction rates of other managed care plans for nearly two decades. Our overall satisfaction rate is more than 92 percent, according to the most recent Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey.

US Family Health Plan Members have access to advanced medical care and services in their communities, and our providers have a deep understanding of military culture and the unique components of care associated with the military community. Our care providers pride themselves on offering world-class health care for their patients, including wellness and disease prevention programs, disease management and continuity of care.

To learn more, about US Family Health Plan, please watch our latest video above or continue to explore our website.


A Happy Holiday Message from the US Family Health Plan

The US Family Health Plan Alliance extends its warmest wishes for the holiday season to each of our nearly 150,000 members, as well as to every military family, veteran and active-duty service member across the country or abroad. We thank you for your sacrifices, courage and strength, and we look forward to serving you in the New Year.


Happy Thanksgiving from the US Family Health Plan Alliance

The US Family Health Plan Alliance wishes you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. At US Family Health Plan, when we think about what we are grateful for, our members and their families top the list! Thanks to all in the U.S. military family for your service, your selflessness and your inspiration. Please enjoy a safe and blessed Thanksgiving Day.


US Family Health Plans Again Earn Top National Ratings for Private Health Insurance

The US Family Health Plan once again has two of the highest-rated private health insurance plans in the country, according to the independent National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

In NCQA’s Private Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2017–2018, NCQA gave a 5 out of 5 rating to the Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan and a 4.5 out of 5 rating to Martin’s Point US Family Health Plan (ME) – two of the US Family Health Plan’s six regional health plans – demonstrating a continued commitment to excellence in health care.

“The latest NCQA ratings affirm that the US Family Health Plan is keeping our members satisfied by providing them with high quality health care for improved care outcomes,” said Jim Schweiter, US Family Health Plan Alliance CEO.

The NCQA report rates private, Medicare, and Medicaid health insurance plans on a 5-point scale for customer satisfaction, prevention and treatment. The ratings are based on clinical quality, member satisfaction and NCQA Accreditation Survey results to emphasize care outcomes and what patients say about their care. Both Martin’s Point and Johns Hopkins are NCQA-accredited.

Johns Hopkins, the top-rated private health insurance plan in Maryland, is just one of five private plans in the country to earn a 5 out of 5 rating out of the more than 1,000 plans rated in the report. The plan also received an NCQA Health Plan Accreditation of Excellent, scoring 94.26 out of a possible 100.

“To be among the highest-rated plans in the country is an honor, as well as a motivator,” said Mary Cooke, vice president of Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan. “Everything that we do is in pursuit of serving our military families and retirees with the highest quality of care possible. The NCQA rating will make us work even harder to maintain our standards and hopefully reach new levels of quality.”

The Martin’s Point US Family Health Plan – based in Portland, Maine – is the top-rated private plan in the state and one of only 42 plans nationwide to earn a 4.5 out of 5 rating.

“We are excited and honored to receive a 4.5 out of 5 rating from NCQA. Our aim is to provide the highest quality care and service, and this rating validates all of our efforts to keep our members satisfied and well cared for,” said David Howes, M.D., president and CEO of Martin’s Point Health Care.

The US Family Health Plan has been labeled as a model for exemplary patient satisfaction nationwide by the annual Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey, which gave the plan a 91.5 aggregate member satisfaction rating in 2017. CAHPS scores are incorporated into the NCQA rating system.

“Our top priority continues to be the health and satisfaction of our members, as it has been for more than 30 years. We are proud of the care we deliver as part of the Military Health System and remain a committed partner to them in their mission,” Schweiter said.


Day of the Deployed: We’ve Got Your Back

Today, on National Day of the Deployed, the US Family Health Plan Alliance celebrates the brave men and women in our Armed Forces who are currently deployed and all those who have served abroad at some point in their service.

Family readiness is a critical component of the military medical readiness mission. Active-duty military members have earned the right to peace of mind, knowing their families are well taken care of back at home.

As a trusted provider of military healthcare, we are committed to providing our members with the highest quality of care. When active duty military families and retirees enroll with one of the six providers within the US Family Health Plan Alliance, they become part of our family. Our members can say with complete confidence that we always have their backs.

So whether active-duty member families are deployed in the next city, state, country or continent – down the street or thousands of miles away – the last thing they have to be concerned about is whether their loved ones have access to the care they need, when they need it.

We pledge to continue delivering top-rated health care with the highest levels of patient satisfaction to our members across the country. We cannot thank you and your families enough for your service and sacrifices.

10.16.17 Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy is an Important Preventive Care and Recovery Option for USFHP Members

October is National Physical Therapy Month. The US Family Health Plan recognizes the importance of physical therapy to the overall health and wellness of our members and their families. Each year, more than half of active-duty soldiers endure injuries or related conditions, leading to more than 1 million medical encounters and roughly 10 million days of limited duty.

After leaving active-duty service, these individuals often endure chronic pain or must have surgery to find relief. Fortunately, US Family Health Plan members have access to a variety of physical therapy coverage options to meet their recovery goals.

After more than 30 years of service to military families and retirees, the US Family Health Plan understands the injuries common to a dynamic military lifestyle.  We are committed to providing quality health care and tailored physical therapy options for pain management to our members to address a range of issues, including physical mobility, speech concerns and cognitive or psychological impairment.

Therapy services – including prescribed physical therapy, aquatic therapy, and cognitive rehabilitation therapy, among others – are available to members through their TRICARE Prime benefit. For more information on whether your health and wellness would benefit from therapy services, speak with your primary care provider.


Milestone Celebration: US Family Health Plan Member Joe Sciacca Turns 100 Years Old

The St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers US Family Health Plan program in New York recently celebrated the 100th birthday of one of its members—Major (Ret.) Joe Sciacca, a U.S. Army veteran and contemporary renaissance man who enjoyed an eclectic career following his military service.

JoeSciacca and wife photo copy 2

Joe Sciacca met his future wife, Mary, in Greensboro, North Carolina while on leave and married her in December 1943.

Sciacca, a Staten Island native, has been a member of the St. Vincent’s US Family Health Plan program for 37 years since enrolling in 1981.  He was born in Manhattan and was drafted into the Army in June 1941, serving until his separation as a first lieutenant in 1946. Sciacca continued to serve another quarter-century in the Army Reserve before retiring as a major.

While in the service, Sciacca was assigned to an artillery unit.  He specialized in spotting enemy fire.  During World War II, he served in various locations across the U.S. and was close to being deployed to the African theater when the war ended.

Mr. Sciacca attended Fordham Law School, and his illustrious post-military career included working for Buitoni Foods for 42 years and being appointed by Governor Nelson Rockefeller to serve as Deputy Commissioner of Boxing for the New York Athletic Commission.  In that position, he played an important role in organizing the “Fight of the Century” between Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971 at Madison Square Garden.

Joe Sciacca posing with former World Champion boxer, Emile Griffith.

Joe Sciacca posing with former World Champion boxer, Emile Griffith.

In celebration of Joe’s 100th birthday, the St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers US Family Health Plan program wishes to thank him for his many years of service to our country and for his successful post-military career.

Joe Sciacca is among nearly 150,000 US Family Health Plan members nationwide who enjoy access to quality healthcare with top-rated patient satisfaction through six regional member organizations offering the TRICARE Prime benefit. The US Family Health Plan administered by Saint Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers has provided care to the military community for more than 30 years and serves active-duty family members, as well as retirees and their family members who live in parts of New York, including New York City, New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania and western Connecticut.

To learn more about the US Family Health Plan, explore the rest of our website.


The US Family Health Plan thanks writer Gregory Giaconelli, who contributed the “Spotlight” column on Joe Sciacca for the Summer 2017 edition of FAM Magazine.

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Identifying and Addressing Mental and Behavioral Health Needs for Military Families and Retirees

Summertime offers multiple opportunities to reflect added focus on mental health; May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has designated June as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. The Department established an online resource, About Face, which provides support for veterans suffering from PTSD and resources for family members of affected veterans.

Active duty troops and retirees face unique challenges as a result of their service to the country. They may endure “hidden” injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, that are not always immediately apparent.

As recipients of the TRICARE Prime benefit, members of the US Family Health Plan have access to a range of mental health care and support services. Our member organizations assist military families and retirees in identifying and managing their conditions and ensuring they receive proper and sustained care.
Available mental and behavioral health services within the US Family Health Plan and TRICARE Prime include:

  • Assistance helping members find the right providers to meet their behavioral health needs
  • Behavioral health services specifically for children of USFHP members
  • Assistance in making appointments with behavioral health specialists
  • Follow-up calls after inpatient stays has extensive information about the stress-related mental health issues following deployment, including PTSD. These issues can impact service members’ and veterans’ well-being and quality of life as well as that of their families:

  • Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are the most common mental health problems faced by returning troops.
  • The most common symptoms of PTSD include: difficulty concentrating, lack of interest/apathy, feelings of detachment, loss of appetite, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, and sleep disturbances.
  • 30% of service members develop mental health conditions within 3 to 4 months of being home.

With greater awareness and understanding afforded to members of the military family, those suffering from “hidden” injuries can have a shorter walk on the road to recovery.



Celebrating National Nurses Week with US Family Health Plan

National Nurses Week, which began May 6, honors the compassion nurses provide and raises awareness about the important role they play in our health care system.  The US Family Health Plan Alliance appreciates the critical roles nurses play in providing quality health care, promoting patient wellness and improving health outcomes.

As part of our leadership in implementing the patient-centered medical home concept, US Family Health Plan member organizations were among the first TRICARE contractors to offer a 24-hour nurse chat hotline.  The hotline gives our members around-the-clock access to nurses and primary care doctors.  Through the hotline, our members have access to general health information, advice on the use of emergency services, guidance about the appropriate level of care for their medical condition, as well as assistance scheduling appointments.

As National Nurses Week draws to a close, the US Family Health Plan Alliance thanks America’s nurses for their service and tireless dedication to patient care and the health care field.  We could not serve our members without them.