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Care Shouldn’t Start in the Emergency Room

An emergency room is too often the first choice for medical care, even when alternative care options are available. According to a 2015 survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), 75 percent of ER doctors reported an increase in patient visits since January 2014, with nearly 90 percent reporting either stagnation or worsening in their patients’ conditions. However, this is not an irreversible trend. There are steps healthcare providers can take to reduce the number of emergency room visits and, in turn, lower healthcare costs.

One of the most effective approaches is population health management because it improves patients’ overall health and wellbeing and provides tools so that they can take greater control of their healthcare. The numbers prove population health management is making a difference for US Family Health Plan members. Our beneficiaries under age 65 make 40 percent fewer trips to the emergency room than non-USHFP beneficiaries while spending 50 percent fewer nights in the hospital, according to the consulting firm Milliman. Care for our patients does not start in the emergency room—it starts at home. USFHP members are encouraged and empowered to invest in their own health through wellness initiatives. Programs like health literacy training, flu outreach reminders and weight management and smoking cessation programs help our members get healthy and stay healthy. When they do need medical attention, USFHP members enjoy an integrated care network in which providers share patient information seamlessly.

Another key USFHP approach that helps reduce ER visits is making sure patients have access to care. A 24-hour nurse help line, the use of a primary care manager, the availability of urgent care centers for immediate but non-emergency care, and in-home patient monitoring are quality alternatives to the emergency room. Improved wellness combined with quality, coordinated care results in healthier patients who, in the long term, save money by avoiding hospital visits and receiving less frequent medical attention. They are also proving to remain highly satisfied with their care: nearly 93 percent of USFHP beneficiaries rate their health plan above-average according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance, compared to only 66 percent for similar plans.

We’re glad to see our patients happy and healthy, not in the emergency room.

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USFHP Programs That Are Heading Off Expensive Chronic Care

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US Family Health Plan features more than 40 disease management programs and a variety of complex care management programs.

Chronic disease comes at a high cost. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 86 percent of all healthcare spending in 2010 was due to one or more chronic medical conditions. For example, $314 billion is spent every year in the U.S. to combat heart disease and stroke. However, early detection and ongoing management of such cardiovascular conditions can make a real difference for a patient’s quality of life while helping save money. Similarly, according to the National Institutes of Health, being overweight significantly increases the risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, gallstones and certain cancers.

To improve overall health, US Family Health Plan features more than 40 disease management programs and a variety of complex care management programs. USFHP was also one of the first plans to implement a patient-centered medical home concept, with benefits like 24-hour nurse helplines and in-home patient monitoring. The results? USFHP beneficiaries are experiencing improved health and wellness and require fewer emergency room visits or hospitalizations.

USFHP health plans have developed and adopted a number of health education and care management programs in an effort to help prevent the development of costly chronic diseases. For instance, Heart to Heart—a 4-day class that raises awareness and educates patients about heart disease, stroke and its related health conditions—teaches patients how to manage their risk factors through assessment tools. The weight management program MOVE!—originally designed by the Department of Veterans Affairs—is uniquely tailored to each participant and emphasizes behavioral and lifestyle changes like regular exercise and healthy eating to help patients manage their weight.

We’re proud to offer America’s military families industry leading programs to prevent expensive chronic care. Click here to learn more about the many wellness programs available to our beneficiaries.

Quality Healthcare Driven by Innovation

We are continually inspired by our beneficiaries and the innovation of the branches they served.

Mike

Mike represents why US Family Health Plan is proud and committed to delivering comprehensive, innovative healthcare to retirees and their families.

Take Mike, a retiree and longtime USFHP member. He has been with USFHP for more than seven years after a career of service in the U.S. Air Force. Mike and his wife live on a pension and, with rising healthcare costs affecting families across the country, deserve the benefit of the latest medical infrastructure and technology to ensure quality and keep costs down.

Mike represents why US Family Health Plan is proud and committed to delivering comprehensive, innovative healthcare to retirees and their families. We are leaders in preventive health techniques that reduce the risk of common health issues and the development of new technologies that improve patient outcomes in a number of ways.

 

  • US Family Health Plan was the first TRICARE provider to emphasize virtual care support through a 24-hour telephone health hotline, giving patients around-the-clock access to nurses and primary care doctors who can offer general health information, self-care instructions, assistance scheduling next-day clinic appointments and advice on whether to use emergency services immediately.
  • Population wellness programs—including flu outreach reminders, weight management programs, smoking cessation programs, health literacy training, osteoporosis screenings, substance abuse treatment, stress management programs and other preventative care services—helping keep members healthy and out of the hospital while also allowing them to invest in their own care.
  • Disease management programs help prevent and manage diseases for treatment while reducing hospital readmissions for care of chronic conditions. Examples include cholesterol management for patients with cardiovascular conditions and blood pressure control and heart monitoring systems for diabetes patients. While emergency room visits are up across the country, USHFP members make fewer visits to the ER than other TRICARE Prime beneficiaries, a testament to the disease management programs, telemedicine and other initiatives used to streamline care.
  • Electronic health records allow care providers to monitor patient vitals electronically. We’re continuing to expand our ability to share patient data and make advances in telemedicine to allow care providers to keep tabs on high risk members and trigger alerts in emergencies—thus making the process of health data sharing across care providers more efficient.

At US Family Health Plan, we will continue to honor the dedication and service to our country that Mike and many of our members have shown by serving as a model for military healthcare providers, staying on top of trends and providing only the best benefits possible. Easy access to high-quality, affordable healthcare ensures members and their families can rest easy, and we look forward to providing Mike, his family and all in the US Family Health Plan fold with continued quality care and a strong physician-patient relationship, driven by innovation.

DOD warns of Tricare mail scam

The Defense Health Agency is warning Tricare beneficiaries of an elaborate mail scam designed to steal money from their banks.

According to the DHA Office of Program Integrity, some Tricare beneficiaries have received letters from a bogus company called Tricare Survey Inc., offering them the chance to work as “secret shoppers.”

The mailings instruct recipients to cash enclosed checks for $3,775 at their banks, keep a percentage of the money for themselves and use the rest to buy six $500 shopping cards to be used at retailers for “secret shopping” excursions.

But when recipients report the card numbers to the company, as instructed in the letters, the fraudsters use the numbers to transfer the amount to their own accounts.

In the alert, issued by the Defense Department on Sunday, August 30, Tricare officials advised beneficiaries not to participate in the scheme, saying they may be held accountable by their banks for the money.

Tricare will identify the checks as counterfeit and return them to the bank in which they were drawn from as non-cashable. Potential exists for the beneficiary to be personally liable for the entire $3775.00, the notification stated.

Companies and individuals target military personnel and families with scams with such frequency that in 2012, federal and state law enforcement agencies created a database of offenders, called the Repeat Offenders Against Military database.

Defense health Agency officials urge anyone who received a secret shopper letter to submit a report to the DHA Program Integrity Office. They can do so online on the office’s web page by clicking the “Report Health Care Fraud” button.

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US Family Health Plan Members Join in Memorial Day Events

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On Saturday May, 23rd representatives from US Family Health Plan member St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers participated in a Memorial Day Event at the BG William C. Doyle Cemetery in Wrightstown, NJ. This event was sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Veterans and Military Affairs and included participation by the New Jersey National Guard Adjutant General, Brigadier General Michael L. Cunniff and New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno in the parade. All organizations of the US Family Health Plan program honor and remember those who perished in our country’s wars and other conflicts, including the more than 6,800 American service members who gave their lives since Sept. 11, 2001.

http://www.usfhp.com/us-family-health-plan-supports-armys-operation-recruit-enlist-dinner/

US Family Health Plan Support’s Army’s Operation Recruit Enlist Dinner

US Family Health Plan members support our military in many ways.  On May 12, 2015, US Family Health Plan member Pacific Medical Centers sponsored the Army’s Operation Recruit Enlist Dinner at Saint Martin’s University in Olympia, WA. As the pictures shows, new recruits and continuing service members were treated to dinner in conjunction with their taking the enlistment oath.

US Family Health Plan Reduces Need for Emergency Care and Hospitalization

The sponsoring organizations of the US Family Health Plan program, highly experienced providers of high quality health care in the Military Health System, have successfully reduced the need for care in two key and costly areas.

The US Family Health Plan is a TRICARE Prime option that focuses on keeping patients well by identifying disease risk early, taking the necessary interventions, and coordinating services through a primary care manager. This managed care approach ensures care is provided in the most clinically appropriate, least expensive, and safest setting.

“The managed care approach used by the US Family Health Plan gives patients the care they need when and where they need it so that they stay as healthy as possible. We do everything we can to optimize patient wellness and to achieve positive long term health outcomes,” said David Howes, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Martin’s Point Health Care, one of the six US Family Health Plans.

According to an independent actuarial analysis, when compared to the TRICARE Prime program as a whole, adult US Family Health Plan members under age 65 spent 33 percent less time in the hospital and visited the emergency room nearly 25 percent less often than other adult Prime members. Thus, US Family Health Plan members utilize inpatient and emergency care less frequently than other TRICARE Prime beneficiaries. Importantly, US Family Health Plan member patient satisfaction rates continue to be among the highest in the nation and among Department of Defense beneficiaries.

“The US Family Health Plan program continues to demonstrate that its innovations, high quality primary and specialty medical care, and attention to customer service add value to the Military Health System,” said Henry J. “Jim” Schweiter, chief executive officer of the US Family Health Plan Alliance. “It is a privilege for the Designated Providers of the US Family Health Plan to serve our uniformed services families. They have sacrificed a great deal for our country.”

About the US Family Health Plan:

An integral part of health care provided to uniformed services dependents and retirees since 1981, the US Family Health Plan program is part of the Military Health System, offering the TRICARE Prime benefit in 16 states and the District of Columbia. The US Family Health Plan was the first and remains the only true population health/managed care model in the Military Health System. The six fully accredited, community-based health care systems, known as designated providers, include Brighton Marine Health Center, Christus Health, Johns Hopkins Health Care, Martin’s Point Health Care, Pacific Medical Centers, and St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers.

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Salute the Troops

The US Family Health Plan is deeply grateful for the service and sacrifice of the members of the uniformed services, and their families. For the past 10 years, US Family Health Plan at St. Vincents Catholic Medical Centers has been a proud corporate sponsor of the “Salute the Troops” Thanksgiving Day event, which is held on the Battleship New Jersey located on the Camden, NJ, Waterfront. Soldiers training at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst who couldn’t be home with their families were treated to a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner aboard the WWII historic battleship.

“I’ve participated in this event each of the ten years we have sponsored it, ” said Jeffrey Bloom, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of the US Family Health Plan at St. Vincents. “The men and women of our uniformed services, and their families, never cease to inspire me. After all they do for our country, this dinner is one simple way to say thank you,” Jeff Bloom said.

Learn more about the event

Frank G. Willetto, an 84-year-old Navajo Code Talker, renders honors during the playing of the national anthem at a ceremony commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va., Feb. 19, 2010. In February 1945 the United States launched its first assault against the Japanese at Iwo Jima, resulting in some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

Veterans Day Message from the US Family Health Plan

On this Veterans Day, the US Family Health Plan salutes the millions of men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. America’s veterans embody the ideals upon which America was founded more than 230 years ago.

The 22 million veterans alive today have served in all branches of the armed forces and in conflicts large and small. Our veterans have shown the selflessness, courage and commitment that have kept our nation free and allowed the United States to become the greatest country in the world. America’s veterans have fought our wars, stood ready during peacetime and responded to disasters at home and abroad when called upon. While we can never truly repay the debt we owe these heroes, the least we should do for them is ensure that they have full access to the services and benefits they have earned, including health care.

The member organizations and staff of the US Family Health Plan program are truly grateful for the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans and their families. Today, and every day, we are committed to honoring their service through the delivery of the highest quality health care in support of our men and women in uniform, their families, and retirees and their families.

Mitchel Field Family Health Center promotes awareness with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

By MC2(AW/SW) Kristina Young

This story appeared in The Dolphin on Aug. 28, 2014

Photo by MC2(AW/SW) Kristina Young LONG ISLAND, NY

LONG ISLAND, NY. – Physicians, staff, and patrons of the Mitchel Field Family Health Center (MFFHC) celebrated their new branding and patron awareness campaign with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the medical center in Garden City, Long Island, NY, Aug. 12.

A former U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force base, Mitchel Field still maintains military public-private venture (PPV) housing, a commissary, an exchange, and a contracted health care facility to support military families and activities in the area.

Mitchel Field DoD activities are aligned under Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE) in Groton, Conn., for facility and infrastructure support and management.

MFFHC recently underwent renovations to improve aesthetics as well as the center’s atmosphere for their more than 1,200 patients of the military community. New paint, new carpeting, and other refurbishments were capped off with dramatic new outdoor signage including eleven 8 ft. by 8 ft. photographs of military members, family members, and military equipment.

“I look at these pictures and it reminds me of the dedication and the sacrifices that all of our military members have made, along with the sacrifices of their families,” said Jeffrey Bloom, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of U.S. Family Health Plan which directs the clinic’s operations. “I look at these pictures and I’m proud to be a part of this plan. I’m proud to be providing the service that we have been providing. And, I’m proud of all of you that’ve patronized this site for the last 24 years.”

The new signs reflect a branding effort to highlight the center’s service to its military patrons and its existence to the local community.

“It absolutely feels great to have the community come out to celebrate with us as we are here because of them; if it wasn’t for the military community around us, we wouldn’t be here,” said Norma Velez, lead clerk with MFFHC for more than 24 years. “We always try to make this center feel like home for our patients and they just love it.”

According to Velez, before the new branding signs were placed around the outside of the building, patients would have a hard time locating the center.

“When the idea of putting signs around the building came up, we all thought it would help our patients and people in the community find us easier,” said Velez. “Our building is so close to the [Mitchel Field] commissary, yet people were having a hard time trying to locate which building we were in exactly. The beautiful pictures on the signs definitely show everyone who we are and who we serve.”

The health center contracted with local Rockville Centre, Long Island, PRI Communications Inc. to develop the signs.

“They told me that they would like to make the building more beautiful,” said Angelo Puleo, president of PRI Communications Inc. “I felt it was a privilege and an honor to do it for military people who support all of us throughout our lifetimes. I made sure that we picked the right pictures; we diversified; and, had proper representation of military members. I’ve been working with [MFFHC] for more than eight years…and I appreciated the opportunity to be a part of the new brand.”

Some 50 health center patrons, staff, and U.S. Family Health Plan leadership celebrated the ribbon cutting with music, food, and reflections about the center’s history and impact.

“I love this place, I love my veterans and my active-duty service members; just being able to be there for them is where my passion for this place comes from,” said Joyce Arciuolo, nursing director at MFFHC.

MFFHC opened in its current location in October 1990; prior to that, staff worked out of three different apartment buildings in nearby Mitchel Manor.

“I began as a clerk in June 1989, and Marvin Mullens, who was in charge, decided to move us out of the apartments and into this building,” said Velez. “This building was utilized for multipurpose use before we took over. It wasn’t nearly as pleasant as it is today. The renovations and work that was put into it really shine and make this place like home.”

Dr. John Burkhart, Medical Director of U.S. Family Health Plan, and a retired Navy Capt. who once worked as medical administrator at SUBASE’s clinic, oversees the MFFHC staff. He praised patients and caregivers alike for the sense of home and family with which they imbue the facility.

Health center patrons echoed the sentiment.

“The center is really scrumptious and full of personality and history. And the medical care, all top-notch doctors; I can’t complain about any doctor that I’ve ever [received],” said MFFHC patient and retired Marine First Sgt. Michael Puglia, who served in the corps for 32 years. “The doctors here, whether they know you or not, are very outstanding, professionals, and always welcome you as a patient. The staff, when I come in there, they’re fabulous. They help me with any problem I [have], if I have a problem; or, if I don’t have a problem, I still get help. [MFFHC] is second to none.”

For more information about the DoD services and activities located at Mitchel Field, visit: