A patient-focused approach to health care enables the six member organizations of the US Family Health Plan to achieve high levels of patient satisfaction among their nearly 150,000 members across the country.
Dr. David Howes, president and CEO of member organization Martin’s Point HealthCare in Maine, explains how the US Family Health Plan maintains satisfaction by prioritizing members’ personal needs.
“When you are a member of US Family Health Plan, we feel a responsibility to help you to become and remain healthy, and to do that in a way that meets your personal needs. In addition, there is the value that we have put together networks of providers, doctors, hospitals and care managers that can help guide you through the care system in a way that means that you will never be unable to find somebody to care for you or your family,” Howes says.
The US Family Health Plan keeps an eye on its progress and effectiveness by measuring its members’ overall satisfaction with their health care over time, including their ability to easily access care and their happiness with their health outcomes. In fact, two US Family Health Plan member organizations – Martin’s Point Health Care and Johns Hopkins – were recently listed among the top private health plans in the country for patient satisfaction by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) Private Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2017–2018.
“We are probably among the health plans in the U.S. that are most satisfying to their members. We find that we are at the absolute top of the heap, with over 90% of our members saying that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their health plan,” Howes says.
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U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. William “Bill” Ashley, Retired
William “Bill” Ashley enlisted in the U.S. Air Force two weeks before he graduated from his Houston-area high school in 1965. He went on to serve 20 years in the Air Force until his retirement on August 31, 1985 as a senior master sergeant.
Ashley’s service tenure spanned several jobs – including seven years as an air traffic controller – and included two tours with distinction in Vietnam. Ashley served as a load master, working aboard several different Air Force cargo and transport aircraft.
Ashley’s military service afforded him the opportunity to attend the Community College of the Air Force, Barry University in Miami, and the University of Houston where he earned a master’s degree. He also met his wife while serving and now has two daughters and three grandchildren.
“Since I’ve left the military, I’ve had a multitude of jobs. I’ve been blessed in the sense that health insurance hasn’t had to be an issue, because it was with me and it’s always been with me. The US Family Health Plan has been a vital part of that,” Ashley says.
Nearly 20 years ago, Ashley joined the US Family Health Plan through Houston-based member organization, CHRISTUS Health. Through US Family Health Plan’s patient-centered approach to health care, Ashley enjoys reliable access to care that is tailored to his needs and personal preferences.
“Accessing care has been great,” he says. “Care has always been available for me. If I need an appointment I can pick up the phone or go online to use the online portal. I don’t like to take a lot of medicine, and so whenever I receive care, one of things I ask is for something I can do that doesn’t involve additional medicine. I am given the opportunity to try other things other than getting drugs to prevent [illness].”
The TRICARE Prime benefit Ashley receives through the US Family Health Plan allows him to see a regular doctor that he chose years ago when joining the plan – a valued option after seeing numerous doctors during his time in the military.
“I like the idea of having my doctor, and I got to choose my doctor, and I’ve been with her ever since. I get an annual physical, my doctor remembers things, and she brings those up and makes sure they are taken care of. When my father passed away, she remembered why he died, and she started checking me for the same things, so things like that are important.”
Ashley appreciates the consistency in care he receives through the US Family Health Plan and the awareness he has developed for his own health care needs through the relationship he has with his doctor.
“If the US Family Health Plan disappeared, it would mean I would lose my doctor of 20 years,” Ashley says. “I have security in my health needs, and I know how to take care of them and navigate that. I would love to stay with what I’ve grown accustomed to and love. I have never considered leaving US Family Health Plan. It’s been a part of my life since I left the military, and I don’t see that changing.”
Ashley is also grateful for the support the US Family Health Plan has given to his church ministry, Windsor Village, in connecting with Houston-area veterans and assisting them with health care, education and housing.
“The US Family Health Plan has sponsored several of our programs, and they have come together to answer questions and help veterans that are in need,” he says. “I really, really do appreciate it, because one of things I’ve found is veterans are hard to bring into the fold, and with help like we were getting from them, it just makes a big difference. Veterans need to be taken care of.”
Bill Ashley 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. To learn more about US Family Health Plan, watch the interview above or explore the rest of our website.
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The US Family Health Plan Alliance knows how important family readiness is as a component of the military’s overall medical readiness. A key part of our mission is to give those serving on active duty overseas peace of mind, knowing their loved ones are being taken care of back home.
Dr. David Howes, president and CEO of Martin’s Point Health Care in Maine, explains how the US Family Health Plan provides the best health care possible to those who make sacrifices by serving or supporting those who serve our country.
“This is a group of people who has earned this benefit, that has served in places where they put their life at risk. Understanding that these people deserve our respect and our appreciation – and taking the time to explain to them what we believe their needs are and how they can work with us to make their health as good as it could be – is the best way to serve them from a cultural perspective.”
As part of the Military Health System, the US Family Health Plan offers the TRICARE Prime benefit to nearly 150,000 military retirees and family members across the country. Dr. Howes talks about how the US Family Health Plan helps manage the important issues facing the Military Health System.
“One thing that we can do,” Howes says, “is offload some of those responsibilities [health care delivered within the Military Health System]. Other things we can do as a USFHP – and some of our plans are doing – is to help with training and development for clinicians and to build more intimate relationships with military treatment facilities so we are working collaboratively rather than competitively.”
Increasing collaboration between uniformed medical professionals and the private sector medical community in support of military medical readiness remains a core tenet of the US Family Health Plan’s commitments to partner with the military’s medical leadership and to provide quality health care for plan members.
“The US Family Health Plan’s approach to working with patients is a huge piece of our mission and privilege to care for these people who have served our country so well,” Howes says.
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The US Family Health Plan’s population health-based approach to caring for its nearly 150,000 military family and retiree members across the country is unique among TRICARE Prime providers in the Military Health System.
Dr. David Howes, president and CEO of Martin’s Point HealthCare in Maine, explains how the US Family Health Plan’s value-based approach to health care promotes better health outcomes.
“Population health means that we will understand the health and needs of each and every member of the US Family Health Plan. And that we will work to help those members to remain healthy and when sick to regain their health quickly,” Howes says.
Preventive health measures, such as weight loss programs and patient risk profiling allow the US Family Health Plan’s member organizations to stay in front of members’ chronic conditions and keep them well.
“Patients come to us, and many times they don’t have a chronic disease yet,” Howes explains. “So by understanding our members and understanding all of their medical circumstances, we can actually often intervene in their diabetes, their high blood fats and their weight, or in other areas of their life where we can help them to reduce the risk of becoming ill and prevent them from getting sick, rather than treating them when they become sick.”
This proactive approach to health care helps military families and retirees if they eventually do develop a chronic illness. According to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly half of all adults in the U.S. (117 million people) suffered from at least one chronic health condition, while 25 percent had more than one chronic condition.
“It’s awfully likely that most of us will develop chronic illness, and that really requires that we custom-tailor programs to the needs of our members so that they can have the doctors they need, the care support that they need, and the family and personal support that they need,” Howes says. “Those things both improve the quality of their lives, often reduce the progression of their illness, and help them to stay out of the hospital and stay well.”
The US Family Health Plan’s preventive health care initiatives, including disease and complex care management programs and a patient-centered medical home concept that includes in-home patient monitoring, keep members active in lifestyle programs and invested in their health and wellness. This model of care falls closely in line with recent requests by Congress to reform the Military Health System and contributes to keeping US Family Health Plan members satisfied with their health care, out of the hospital and able to experience a high quality of life.
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U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Natalie Poole, Retired
Natalie Poole enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at age 18, looking for direction in her life. She couldn’t know that she would complete a decorated 20-year career that spanned several international deployments – including Japan, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia – and earn five Navy Achievement Medals for service above and beyond the call of duty. Her military service, she says, is the best thing she’s ever done.
Upon her retirement as a gunnery sergeant and logistics chief, Poole has remained active, launching a career as an entrepreneur and government contractor while participating in multiple alumni networking groups and the national organization, Disabled American Veterans. Though she remains physically healthy, she wanted to maintain choice and personal autonomy in her health care. After using other care options offered through the Military Health System, Natalie chose the US Family Health Plan at Christus Healthcare for her care.
“US Family Health Plan had the best program of anything out there,” Poole recalls. “Since I was a veteran, I exclusively had the opportunity to take advantage of it. It was all as I expected. Everyone was respectful, efficient, and there were no surprises. And for me that says a lot.”
As a proud US Family Health Plan member for more than six years, Poole continues to appreciate the respectful culture and unwavering reliability her care teams have offered her since the day she enrolled. She emphasizes how an appreciation of military sacrifice permeates throughout Christus Health, fostering an understanding of military culture that helps doctors and care teams work with veterans who may want to handle challenging situations without outside help.
“Aside from whatever I came in for – including my checkups – they’re also asking me different things to open up the floor [on other medical issues]. They actually talk to me about it in a way that’s respectful,” Poole says. “I’m treated like a human being.”
Another benefit Poole enjoys through the plan is access to care when she needs it. There’s no months-long waiting process to see a doctor; when she calls for an appointment, one is scheduled for her within a reasonable time. This is especially important to her because she has two daughters and four grandchildren – further encouragement to stay as healthy as possible. This also encourages her to participate in the preventive health programs which US Family Health Plan promotes for its members.
“As I get older,” Poole says, “I need a health care plan that’s going to grow with me. It’s very important to me to have consistency and someone that I can depend on — a plan that I can depend on. I believe if you promise a thing you should follow through with a thing. The biggest praise I can give US Family Health Plan and Christus Health is they’ve done exactly that.”
Natalie Poole 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 TRICARE Prime benefits. To learn more about US Family Health Plan, watch the interview above or explore the rest of our website.
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U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Charles Halsted, Retired
Charles “Chuc” Halsted served three decades in the U.S. Air Force National Guard after four years of active-duty Air Force service. Upon his retirement six years ago, he and his wife, Christine, returned home to Maine and joined the US Family Health Plan Alliance through local provider, Martin’s Point Health Care.
Chief Halsted knows that caregivers working with military retirees or active-duty families need to have an understanding of the military culture to establish trust, which he says is especially important in medical care. This culture of trust is what drew Halsted and his wife to Martin’s Point and the US Family Health Plan.
“When you step out of the service, and you look for trust – that kind of trust you’ve been used to for a long time – you look for quality care,” he says. “Are you secure day in and day out that you have the right people for you? US Family Health Plan and Martin’s Point were a no-brainer.”
Chief Halsted also discusses the importance of the positive culture and reliable access at Martin’s Point, a major factor in his family’s decision to stay in Maine.
“I’ve seen a lot of care. I couldn’t be happier with US Family Health Plan and Martin’s Point in the care I get from them,” Halsted says. “I know I can be well taken care of. And when I look down the line, at my age, I know they’ll be there for me, and there’s tremendous security in that.”
The Halsteds are among nearly 150,000 US Family Health Plan members nationwide who enjoy access to quality healthcare with top-rated patient satisfaction through six regional TRICARE Prime providers. To learn more about US Family Health Plan, watch the interview above or explore the rest of our website.
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After a 30-year active-duty career in the U.S. Air Force — including eight years as communications chief on Air Force One — Chief Master Sergeant Michael Tedford has enjoyed nearly a decade of retirement with his wife, Katrina, and their children.
Chief Master Sgt. Michael Tedford served 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, including 22 years at Joint Base Andrews and eight years aboard Air Force One. He is pictured above with former President George W. Bush and at bottom with former President Bill Clinton and crewmates.
Retirement has been “very smooth,” Tedford says, as a result of the reliable and convenient access to quality healthcare he and his wife receive through the Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan.
“My wife and I have been enrolled in the Plan for nine years,” Tedford says. “The US Family Health Plan has been a phenomenal success, and once we got into it and saw how good it was, we’ve been nothing but big proponents.”
Chief Tedford touts the US Family Health Plan’s convenience of access, a necessity due to a daily commute from his home in Maryland to downtown Washington, D.C., and his and Katrina’s primary care and surgical needs.
“Especially as my wife and I get older, I think it’s going to be significant to our health, because if we didn’t have the Plan available I think our health would suffer as far as the quality and the access. Access is everything,” Tedford says.
The Tedfords are among nearly 150,000 US Family Health Plan members nationwide to enjoy access to quality healthcare with top-rated patient satisfaction through six regional TRICARE Prime provider organizations. To learn more about the US Family Health Plan, watch the interview above or explore the rest of our website.
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Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Bill Hall, who is the Military Relations Manager at Martin’s Point Health Care, has a unique perspective from which to serve US Family Health Plan beneficiaries because he is a US Family Health Plan beneficiary himself.
Col. Hall, whose 30 years of service in the U.S. Air Force included a tour in Vietnam, speaks to US Family Health Plan’s familiarity with military culture, high patient satisfaction and commitment to delivering quality healthcare to more than 145,000 beneficiaries nationwide.
“There’s such a deep military culture,” Hall says. “There’s a real appreciation for what military families go through and what they need, both when they’re in their active duty years and when they’re in their retirement years for the best in healthcare. When they hit retirement years, we understand there’s a new set of stressors that comes with retirement, and we want to ensure that healthcare isn’t one of those, that we provide the best healthcare we can.”
Martin’s Point Health Care operates the US Family Health Plan program for military families and retirees in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, upstate and western New York, and northern Pennsylvania. The US Family Health Plan is a TRICARE Prime program offered by the Department of Defense that provides high quality health care to eligible beneficiaries.
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On March 17, representatives from the US Family Health Plan briefed U.S. Senate staff on the incredible quality of care, patient satisfaction and military support the plan provides through TRICARE Prime.
These video clips from the briefing highlight how US Family Health Plan is:
Providing high quality care and patient satisfaction to more than145,000 beneficiaries nationwide
Uniquely poised for success as TRICARE Prime’s only capitated model care plan
Empowering military family readiness by caring for active duty and retiree families
Fulfilling the promise of health care coverage made to our brave servicemen and women
You can learn more about our unique approach to military healthcare by exploring our website. To view the full video from the March 17 briefing at the U.S. Senate, click here.
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