Chief Master Sgt. Michael Tedford (USAF Ret.) and his family.

MEMBER MINUTES VIDEO: ‘Access Is Everything’

USFHP Member Minutes Profile

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Michael Tedford

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 in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years, including 22 years at Joint Base Andrews and eight years in the cockpit of Air Force One.

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.

US Family Health Plan Alliance CEO Jim Schweiter Discusses Military Health Care Reform

Jim Schweiter, US Family Health Plan CEO

Jim Schweiter

In a recent article for the National Military Family Association (NMFA), US Family Health Plan Alliance CEO Jim Schweiter addressed the series of proposed reforms to the Military Health System that are under consideration as part of the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

In his piece, Schweiter highlights a recent study from the University at Buffalo that emphasized the importance of health care providers who serve our military community having a full understanding of military culture. Further, he urges Congress to preserve those elements of the current system, including TRICARE Prime’s US Family Health Plan program, which have been shown over time to work well, provide high quality care, and achieve better health outcomes and high beneficiary satisfaction.

 

A recent study from the University at Buffalo and published in the journal Military Behavioral Health concluded that health care provider networks that serve veterans and families in the military community need to have a fundamental understanding of military culture in order to provide effective care and improve patients’ health outcomes. This kind of understanding of the military community and culture can only be acquired by working with the military and serving the community and its people over time.  

The findings underscore the critical importance of understanding how military service impacts care utilization—fundamentals that the US Family Health Plan provider organizations have developed and refined through more than 30 years of serving nearly 150,000 military family members.

The US Family Health Plan view is that service members and their families deserve the greatest respect for their service, and also the highest-quality health care. The US Family Health Plan has been a long time leader in quality care for military families, retirees and other beneficiaries in the Military Health System, systemically providing the critical components of health care that is tailored to military families as outlined in the study’s findings:

  • An in-depth knowledge of military culture, values and ideals;
  • An understanding of the stressors of military life and post-service adjustment;
  • Recognition that a person’s military service might influence his or her care utilization habits;
  • Avoidance of individual barriers to a patient-provider relationship.

To read Schweiter’s full commentary for the National Military Family Association, click here.

Happy Independence Day from the US Family Health Plan Alliance

Independence Day Message from the US Family Health Plan Alliance

On this Fourth of July, the US Family Health Plan Alliance celebrates the independence of our great nation and pays tribute to all our men and women in uniform, retirees and military family members. The selfless service and sacrifices of these brave men, women and families must always be appreciated and honored, and the Fourth of July is a fitting occasion to reflect upon and commemorate all they do to keep America free and secure.

For more than 30 years, the member organizations of the US Family Health Plan Alliance have been proud to deliver high-quality healthcare to military families and retirees. In honor of our members, we are celebrating Independence Day through various events. One of our member organizations, Christus Health, is proud to sponsor again this year the annual Freedom Over Texas festival, the City of Houston’s signature annual patriotic celebration.

The US Family Health Plan is grateful for the privilege of providing high-quality healthcare to our uniformed services family members and retirees, and we wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July.

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MEMBER MINUTES VIDEO: ‘What Good Healthcare Should Look Like’

USFHP Member Minutes Profile:  

U.S. Air Force Col. William “Bill” Hall, Ret.

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. Col. Bill HallHall, 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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USFHP Member Series: The Moons MOVE! into Action

Couple sheds 170 pounds in Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan Weight Loss Program

When retired U.S. Navy Chief Ed Moon and his wife Mary Jo attended their first Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan-sponsored MOVE! class in September 2014, they had no idea their decision to take control of their health would lead to more than 150 pounds of collective weight loss and a step toward healthy living.

Ed Moon, a Navy veteran with 20 years of service, has been a US Family Health Plan member since 2011. He had visited the doctor multiple times after his weight had climbed to 310 pounds and was experiencing back and joint pain, sleep apnea and difficulty walking. Mary Jo Moon avoided the doctor altogether after her weight reached 258 pounds, though she feared the possibility of a stroke, a heart attack or developing diabetes. But she knew her family had to make a change.

Fortuitously, the couple received a brochure in the mail advertising MOVE!, a weight management program designed by the Veterans Affairs National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention to improve veterans’ health nationwide.

Ed and Mary Jo Moon, before and after their impressive initial weight loss.

Ed and Mary Jo Moon, before their weight loss journey began, and after. Image Credit: Courtesy of Johns Hopkins.

The program features weekly classes and recommends a variety of individualized behavioral and lifestyle changes so participants can lose weight and keep it off. What the Moons did not realize at that time was that, as at-risk US Family Health Plan members, they had been specifically profiled for the program.

“When we first received the brochure, we didn’t know that this amazing program would allow us to work toward our goals and establish a routine to lose weight and exercise,” Ed Moon says.

On Sept. 4, 2014, the Moons attended their first class and met Rachelle Cannon, M.S., C.W.H.C, a U.S. Family Health Plan health coach and their future weight loss mentor.

“The importance of the MOVE! Program is to encourage participants to express their ideas, to explore evidence-based health practices that the educator shares from the curriculum, to consider new ways of approaching and/or viewing nutrition, exercise, and the power of the mind, to ask questions, and most importantly, to meet other people who experience similar challenges,” Cannon says.

Cannon, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard, brought a “perky” energy to the program that then Moons said was crucial to their weight loss journey. Since the Moons’ first MOVE! class, they have lost a combined total of more than 170 pounds and have kept it off.

“Rachelle was a catalyst,” Mary Jo Moon says. “Her advice and suggestions were the foundation on which we built our food and exercise habits. The program introduced us to the concept of food tracking and using a pedometer to help set exercise goals and track success. My favorite part was the 80-20 rule of eating: eat well 80 percent of the time and forgive yourself for the 20 percent you don’t.”

Ed and Mary Jo share a healthy snack with MOVE! coach Rachelle Cannon (center).

Ed and Mary Jo share a healthy snack with MOVE! coach Rachelle Cannon (center).  Image Credit: Courtesy of Johns Hopkins.

In addition to eating well, the Moons have surprised even themselves by developing a fondness for walking and running. They ran their first 5K on New Year’s Day 2015 and have since done a 4-mile walk or run each weekend, with Mary Jo tacking on a monthly 5k-run. This was a dramatic improvement from the days before they joined the MOVE! program, when on a trip to Virginia Beach, they struggled to navigate the boardwalk.

“From our hotel we could see the King Neptune statue,” Ed Moon recalls. “I thought it was really close, but when we started walking there, it was so grueling that we almost had to take a taxi back. A year later we walked the entire length of the boardwalk and waved at Neptune as we went by. And we’re going to continue to see how far we can go each time we visit. I haven’t had to pay for a single cab yet.”

The Moons attribute their achievements on the boardwalk and on the scale to the valued, specialized care they receive through Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan—a plan on which they’ve come to rely.

“I would be crushed if US Family Health Plan were not in the military healthcare system. This has been great for us and for our health,” Ed Moon says. “I’m getting ready to retire. We’re considering staying in this area, because of the care. There are cheaper and maybe more comfortable places to live, but I would like to stay in the coverage area of the US Family Health Plan.”

US Family Health Plan provides the TRICARE Prime benefit through six non-profit regional health care provider organizations that serve military families and retirees with quality coordinated care and best-in-class patient satisfaction.

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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.

On Saturday, May 21, we observed Armed Forces Day, a day marked by open houses and displays of American military technology and equipment at bases across the country. In so doing, we commemorate the service and sacrifices of the men and women of the uniformed services, retirees and family members. Without their dedication, hard work and selfless service, often in far flung regions of the world, we and others in countries across the globe would not enjoy the freedoms and democratic societies of today.

This past weekend, Memorial Day marked the sacrifices of the millions of Americans who have paid the ultimate price in service to our great country. The example they set reminds us all that freedom isn’t free and that we have to be prepared to defend our freedoms and our democracy, sometimes at the greatest possible cost.

The US Family Health Plan and its provider organizations have been part of the military family for more than 30 years, providing top quality healthcare to military family members and retirees. The brave men and women who serve our country, as well as their families, continue to be our inspiration every day.

We view the opportunity to provide quality healthcare to military families and retirees as a solemn and important responsibility, one that we cherish and work hard every day to fulfill. We hope everyone will join us in using Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day as occasions to reflect on and commemorate the selfless service and sacrifice of those who have served to protect our great country.

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VIDEO: Highlights of US Family Health Plan’s Visit to the U.S. Senate

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 than 145,000 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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US Family Health Plan Execs Attend 2016 Military Child of the Year Awards Gala

Every year, Operation Homefront holds a gala in honor of six extraordinary military children, one representing each branch of service – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the National Guard. The Military Child of the Year award recognizes children who “demonstrate resilience and strength of character, and thrive in the face of the challenges of military life.”

This year, Jeff Bloom, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of the US Family Health Plan program at St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, was honored to serve as a judge to help select the recipients of the 2016 award. The six Military Child of the Year award winners each received $10,000 and special recognition at the gala. Mr. Bloom noted, “The Military Child of the Year awards is a great way to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of the children of our service men and women. The St. Vincent’s US Family Health Plan is honored to join Operation Homefront in sponsoring this great event.”

US Family Health Plan Director of Marketing/Sales Communications Rhonda Morris and St. Vincent's Executive Director and Senior Vice President Jeff Bloom pose with Madeleine Morlino, a future U.S. Air Force Academy cadet and 2016 Military Child of the Year award recipient from Moorestown, New Jersey.

US Family Health Plan Director of Marketing/Sales Communications Rhonda Morris and St. Vincent’s Executive Director and Senior Vice President Jeff Bloom pose with Madeleine Morlino, a future U.S. Air Force Academy cadet and 2016 Military Child of the Year award recipient from Moorestown, New Jersey.

St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers operates the US Family Health Plan program for military families and retirees in parts of New York, including all of New York City, New Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Western Connecticut.  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.

Joining Mr. Bloom at the event was Jim Schweiter, Chief Executive Officer of the US Family Health Plan Alliance. “The achievements of the young people we saw tonight are truly extraordinary,” Schweiter said. “Just as impressive as their achievements is their spirit of giving back to military communities and helping others. They truly deserve these awards, and it is a privilege for the US Family Health Plan program to be associated with this event.”

Pictured above (from left): Operation Homefront President and CEO John I. Pray, Jr., Brig. Gen. USAF (Ret.), US Family Health Plan Director of Marketing/Sales & Communications Rhonda Morris, St. Vincent's Executive Director and Senior Vice President Jeff Bloom, and United States Marine Corps General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford

Pictured above (from left): Operation Homefront President and CEO John I. Pray, Jr., Brig. Gen. USAF (Ret.), US Family Health Plan Director of Marketing/Sales & Communications Rhonda Morris, St. Vincent’s Executive Director and Senior Vice President Jeff Bloom, and United States Marine Corps General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford

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Senate Staff Attend US Family Health Plan Showcase on Capitol Hill

United States Senate staff had an opportunity to learn first-hand about the best in care, quality and patient satisfaction for military families and veterans last week at a briefing on the US Family Health Plan.

To view highlights from the USFHP Senate briefing, click here.

Part of the Military Health System since 1981, the US Family Health Plan provides the TRICARE Prime benefit through six non-profit regional health care provider organizations that serve military families and veterans with quality coordinated care and best-in-class patient satisfaction. The briefing was hosted by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), who represent states in which US Family Health Plan member providers Martin’s Point HealthCare and Johns Hopkins Health Care operate.

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US Family Health Plan executives and beneficiaries speak to Senate staff on Thursday, March 17, in the Russell Senate Office Building. At left, retired Chief Master Sergeant Michael Tedford offers personal anecdotes about the care he has received through a US Family Health Plan provider after a 30-year career in the U.S. Air Force.

“The US Family Health Plan is an amazing health plan,” said Linda Marzano, chair of the US Family Health Plan Alliance’s board of directors and CEO of Seattle-based Pacific Medical Centers. “We offer high-quality care and high patient satisfaction for all of our beneficiaries. Our vision is to really simplify healthcare for everyone.”

“Serving the families that have served our country is our highest priority,” added Jeff Bloom, senior vice president at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers of New York. “We believe establishing a strong culture of compassion improves quality of care, and we take pride in delivering exceptional healthcare benefits to all our members.”

Unique among TRICARE programs, the US Family Health Plan provider organizations serve more than 145,000 beneficiaries through fixed price contracts and using a capitated care model. David Chicoine, senior Vice President and plan CEO for Brighton Marine Health Center, the US Family Health Plan provider in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, explained how care capitation allows for greater focus on disease prevention, wellness programs and improved care access for beneficiaries.

“The US Family Health Plan is the only fully at-risk managed care plan that the Department of Defense offers,” he said. “What that means is the government pays the programs a fixed annual premium for each member who enrolls in the health plan. Transferring the risk to deliver all of the healthcare to us compels us to create an environment in which patient engagement and effective access to care is optimized. We are responsible for providing all of their care, regardless of what they need.”

Retired Col. William E. Hall, USAF, speaks with an aide to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), following the US Family Health Plan briefing on March 17. Colonel Hall is a US Family Health Plan beneficiary of Martin’s Point Health Care in Maine.

Retired Col. William E. Hall, USAF (center), speaks with an aide to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), following the US Family Health Plan briefing on March 17. Col. Hall is a US Family Health Plan beneficiary of Martin’s Point Health Care in Maine.

Staffers representing 16 different U.S. Senate offices heard compelling testimony from service members who have entrusted the US Family Health Plan with their health care. Retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeants Michael Tedford, a Johns Hopkins beneficiary, and Charles Halsted, a Martin’s Point beneficiary, shared examples of their families’ positive experiences with the US Family Health Plan.

“One of the big focuses on care mimics the old cliché – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That approach seems inculcated into the culture of the plan,” said Tedford, who retired after a 30-year career that included stints on the aircrew of Air Force One. “Over the years, I’ve been able to share my experiences with a bunch of fellow military retirees, and a lot of them have signed up for the [US Family Health Plan] and have had pretty much the same positive experiences that I’ve had.”

Chief Halsted offered a deeply personal story about the quality care his wife received.

“My beautiful wife is a constant gardener,” Halsted said. “She’s highly susceptible to skin cancer, and like me she wears heavy glasses. In the last two years, she’s had a problem with one eye, which required cataract surgery, and in this last year, she had a case of skin cancer near the eye. Martin’s Point jumped right into it, arranged for all the tests, surgeries and post-op work that had to be done. I don’t know what more you can ask from a care provider. It means that I can be assured of her care and my care through my extended life, and I plan to push it hard. It means that I have people I can go to, and I’ll tell you how important that is.”

Mary Cooke, Vice President of the Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan program, discussed how the privilege of working with Plan beneficiaries also benefits civilian hospitals.

“The civilian healthcare community has learned so much from the military community,” she said. “We are honored to be part of the Military Health System. With that privilege comes responsibility, and look at our beneficiaries – how can you not love them? This partnership is magic, and it’s kind of a two-way street: we always raise the bar for each other, and I think the closer we can work together, the better we can serve our common military community.”

Chief Halsted left attendees at the close of the briefing with a ringing endorsement of the US Family Health Plan.

“I can’t emphasize to you enough the importance of quality care for people who have stepped forward for our country,” he said. “As [Chief Tedford] said, it’s keeping a promise we gave those people when they put their hand up. To think that some people in our government would start to tweak this operation to make a buck…if that is what it comes down to, it’s a travesty. You have to support this type of operation. These people are really doing a great service.”

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Study: Providing Quality Care for Military Families Requires Understanding Military Culture

A new study from the University at Buffalo, published in Military Behavioral Health, concludes that health care provider networks that serve veterans and families in the military community need to have a fundamental understanding of military culture in order to provide effective care and improve patients’ health outcomes.

The new findings underscore the critical importance of understanding how military service impacts care utilization—fundamentals that the US Family Health Plan provider organizations have standardized in their enduring tradition of serving nearly 150,000 military family members and veterans.

A unique quality identified in the research about this population is that military family members and veterans often “don’t complain about little things” – a phrase which is included in the subtitle of the final research report – and may feel unsupported and underappreciated by those providing them care. The University of Buffalo researchers found that veterans and military families often feel that health care providers minimize their concerns or do not communicate clearly with them.

The US Family Health Plan view is that service members and their families deserve the greatest respect for their service, and also the highest-quality health care. The US Family Health Plan has been a leader in quality care for military families, retirees and other beneficiaries in the Military Health System for more than 30 years, systemically instilling the critical components of care outlined in the study’s findings:

  • An in-depth knowledge of military culture, values and ideals;
  • An understanding of the stressors of military life and post-service adjustment;
  • Recognition that a person’s military service might influence his or her care utilization habits;
  • Avoidance of individual barriers to a patient-provider relationship.

By knowing who our patients are, understanding their needs, and clearly communicating their care and treatment options, the US Family Health Plan provider organizations effectively care for chronic conditions, reduce emergency room visits and achieve better health and wellness outcomes. Our beneficiaries get appointments when they need them, and they receive sustained and reliable access to care through a 24-hour nurse help line, in-home monitoring and other advanced approaches to care delivery. It’s no wonder that US Family Health Plan beneficiaries are among the most satisfied patients in the country