Care Can’t Wait: US Family Health Plan Provides 24-hour Health Care through Telehealth and Nurse Hotlines

Sometimes care can’t wait.  Patients increasingly require on-demand care outside of the traditional setting of a hospital or clinic.  Thanks to advances in technology, individuals can have easier access to health care and medical resources – often even from home.

In a new US Family Health Plan Alliance video, Dr. Steven Kravet, MD, MBA – president of Johns Hopkins Community Physicians – discusses how the Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan integrates telehealth and technology into the quality health care they provide to their members. Read more

Combat Changes Things: US Family Health Plan’s Dedication to PTSD Care

A version of this article was originally published in the Spring 2018 edition of “U” Magazine by US Family Health Plan member organization, Brighton Marine Health Center.

Service members who have experienced combat often have reactions such as irritability, sleeplessness, nightmares, jumpiness and flashbacks to combat events. They may feel depressed and lonely, even when they’re with friends and family.  For many, these signs of stress go away after a few months.  For others, the problems remain or get worse with time.  These veterans may find that their health and their relationships with family and friends deteriorate.  They may resort to misusing alcohol or drugs in an effort to feel better.  They may have post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as “PTSD.”

Historically, seeking treatment for PTSD carried a stigma.  Service members who sought help were concerned about being perceived as weak.  They worried, understandably, that their chances of being promoted would be compromised.

Today, we know that stress after combat is what experts call “a normal response to an abnormal situation.”  We know that living through a traumatic event can create changes in the brain’s pathways.  We also know that effective treatments for PTSD exist, and that veterans who are treated for PTSD can go on to have healthy, productive lives.

“For the past 25 years, US Family Health Plan has provided comprehensive medical care to military families. As research continues on post-traumatic stress disorder, we continue to learn more about how best to treat this condition.  Our understanding of the military’s culture and what many in the military have endured enables us to provide our members with compassionate, stigma-free treatment to help improve their quality of life,” said David Chicoine, Senior Vice President and Plan CEO of US Family Health Plan member organization, Brighton Marine Health Center.

Older veterans

Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect combat veterans many years after their war experience.  According to experts at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs/National Center for PTSD, this may be because:

  • Retirement may provide fewer distractions from difficult memories.
  • The medical concerns that are a common part of aging may leave veterans feeling less strong and more vulnerable.
  • Coverage of violence on television news and on the internet, which is often extremely graphic, can feel nearly constant and may trigger memories of wartime.
  • Veterans who may have tried to cope in the past by using alcohol, then stop drinking later in life without learning healthier coping techniques, may find that their PTSD symptoms now seem worse.

Symptoms of PTSD don’t occur on the same timetable for everyone.  Some veterans experience symptoms immediately after returning from combat and find that the symptoms last for their entire lives.  Others don’t have symptoms of PTSD at all until later in life.  Still others experience symptoms intensely right after their combat experience, then find that the symptoms recede for a significant time, then reappear later in life.

Getting help

There are effective treatments for PTSD, including PTSD that surfaces or intensifies later in life.  Talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups, medications and combinations of treatments can reduce the symptoms and help get veterans back on the track to wellness.  No one returns from combat unchanged.  Everyone deserves treatment.

The US Family Health plan provides quality health care to more than 150,000 members nationwide who are military retirees or the family of active-duty or retired military service members.  For access to PTSD resources, US Family Health Plan members can self-refer for mental-health services from their network providers.

The US Family Health Plan thanks author Kerry Tucker, Managing Editor of Brighton Marine’s “U” Magazine, for her contribution to this story.

US Family Health Plan Regional Spotlight: Johns Hopkins, Mid-Atlantic Region

 

The US Family Health Plan Alliance comprises six regional health care providers that offer the Tricare PRIME benefit to nearly 150,000 military families and retirees across the country.  US Family Health Plan members in the Mid-Atlantic region are served by Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan.

Dr. Steven Kravet, MD, MBA, has overseen the delivery of primary care for beneficiaries of the Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan for the past nine years.  He serves as president of the physician group, Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, responsible for the majority of the primary care for the region’s US Family Health Plan members, of which approximately 70 percent are military retirees and 30 percent are active-duty military dependents.

In a new US Family Health Plan Alliance video, Dr. Kravet highlights Johns Hopkins’ long history of working with the military population going back three decades and how it has been able to grow throughout the region.  Read more

Committing to Our Communities On and Beyond Independence Day

The six regional member organizations of TRICARE’s US Family Health Plan program, which collectively serve 150,000 military family members and retirees nationwide, understand the importance of community stewardship.

CHRISTUS Health, the member organization serving US Family Health Plan members in Texas and Louisiana, is no exception, having long participated in community immersion events in the region and served as a longtime sponsor of Houston’s massive annual Independence Day celebration.

Read more

US Family Health Plan Founding Members Reunite after Nearly Four Decades

Nearly 40 years after its creation in 1981, the US Family Health Plan is still providing high-quality health care to some of its original members.

Martin’s Point Health Care in Maine – one of the six US Family Health Plan regional member organizations – hosted a recent seminar to educate members about plan benefits, pharmacy options, health coverage and the latest in military health care.  Excitingly, the seminar also reunited some of the inaugural members who have received health care through the plan since its founding.

Read more

A Time to Honor American Military Service and Sacrifice

Every year, the month of May closes with two particularly poignant reminders of American military service and of the sacrifices of those who serve to protect our freedoms.

Read more

US Family Health Plan Tips for a Healthy Spring Season

The six member organizations of the US Family Health Plan place a high priority on providing members with and educating them about preventative care. As winter transitions into spring, it’s important to monitor the effects seasonal changes have on our bodies and overall health. Here are a few tips to ensure you and your family enjoy the new season.

Read more

US Family Health Plan Salutes Nurses During National Nurses Week

Nurses are at the frontline of patient care and as we celebrate National Nurses Week– timed to coincide with Florence Nightingale’s birthday.  The member organizations of TRICARE’s US Family Health Plan program want to recognize and commend everything nurses do, day in and day out, to ensure patients receive the highest level of care possible.

As part of our leadership in promoting the patient-centered medical home concept, US Family Health Plan member organizations were among the first TRICARE providers to offer a 24-hour nurse help hotline, giving members around-the-clock access to nurses and primary care doctors. Through the hotline, US Family Health Plan 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, and assistance in scheduling appointments.

The US Family Health Plan Alliance and the six health plans thank all nurses for their service and tireless dedication to patient care. We could not serve our members without them.

US Family Health Plan Celebrates Military Spouse Appreciation Month

May is Military Spouse Appreciation Month, a time to celebrate the contribution and sacrifices made by military spouses, who support our service members. It is our honor and privilege to provide health care to the spouses of active-duty service members, activated members of the National Guard and Reserve, and retirees. Read more

USFHP Member Profile Series: Cleared for Takeoff

Chief Master Sergeant Maryanne Walts turned injury into inspiration, channeling her love for travel in her service to the Air Force and Air National Guard

The US Family Health plan provides quality health care to more than 150,000 members nationwide who are military retirees or the family of active-duty or retired military service members.  We are honored to serve members like Chief Master Sergeant Maryanne Walts, who trusts us with her family’s healthcare needs.

Read more