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.

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

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.”

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.

US Family Health Plan—A Model of High Quality Care and High Patient Satisfaction

This week, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a series of initiatives to strengthen the U.S. military’s employee benefits package to ensure that our military community members receive health and family benefits comparable to those found in the private sector. As the Department of Defense aims to provide high-quality health benefits, it should look to the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan as a model program that already leads the way in patient satisfaction, better health outcomes and cost effective health care.

The US Family Health Plan’s six regional nonprofit care providers are unique in TRICARE for their capitated care model and proactive approach to medicine focused on improved patient wellness, disease management and predictive modeling to ensure that the care received is the most appropriate to the patient’s medical condition. US Family Health Plan beneficiaries are among the country’s most satisfied patients with a 91.5-percent aggregate satisfaction rating, according to the 2015 Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey.

This rating, more than 25 percentage points higher than the national average for commercial health plans, is driven by a culture and value-based care model that helps patients live healthier lives and which, in turn, reduces the frequency of costly emergency room visits and inpatient care. As healthcare in the private sector becomes more innovative and patient-centric, the US Family Health Plan serves as a model for the Department of Defense in its pursuit of top-of-the-line care, higher patient satisfaction and cost effective care delivery.

Congress Learns about Military’s Only Capitated Healthcare model

Members of Congress have been looking for solutions to curb the rising cost of military healthcare, and on Nov. 3 representatives of US Family Health Plan briefed congressional officials about key features of the only fixed price, value-based capitated care program in the Military Health System.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington), Ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduces US Family Health Plan executives Linda Marzano (left) and David Chicoine (right) at a Nov. 3 Capitol Hill briefing on population health management.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington), Ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduces US Family Health Plan executives Linda Marzano (left) and David Chicoine (right) at a Nov. 3 Capitol Hill briefing on population health management.

“The US Family Health Plan is the alternative model of care that the country is striving for,” said Linda Marzano, chair of the US Family Health Plan Alliance’s board of directors and CEO of Pacific Medical Centers, located in Seattle. “We have high quality, high patient satisfaction and a lower cost of care. We are achieving what the entire country is trying to move toward.”

Patient-Centered Healthcare Leads to Member Satisfaction

Marzano’s remarks on Capitol Hill come after the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey confirmed that US Family Health Plan patients are some of the most satisfied in the country. The CAHPS report this year showed that the US Family Health Plan’s aggregate member satisfaction rating in 2014 was 91.5 percent—more than 25 points higher on a 100-point scale than the national average for commercial health plans.

(Left to right) US Family Health Plan executives Linda Marzano (Pacific Medical Centers), David Chicoine (Brighton Marine Health Center) and David Howes (Martin’s Point Healthcare) discuss the high-quality, patient-centered healthcare that has been provided to military families for more than 30 years.

(Left to right) US Family Health Plan executives Linda Marzano (Pacific Medical Centers), David Chicoine (Brighton Marine Health Center) and David Howes (Martin’s Point Healthcare) discuss the high-quality, patient-centered healthcare that has been provided to military families for more than 30 years.

The six designated provider organizations that make up the US Family Health Plan operate a capitated-care model in which they are reimbursed at a fixed rate for the cost all patient services, and they are at risk if the cost of care exceeds that rate. This arrangement incentivizes investment in population health and disease management programs that help people live healthier lives and avoid expensive episodes of inpatient care.

“Each year, we’ve been able to offer great care at an affordable cost,” explained Dr. David Howes, president and CEO of Martin’s Point HealthCare. “Because people enroll with us, we know the people for whom we are responsible. We establish their preventive care needs, risks and chronic diseases, so we can help them to optimize their care, minimize hospitalizations and complications and remain healthy for as long as possible.”

David Chicoine, senior vice president and plan CEO for Brighton Marine Health Center, explained that each US Family Health Plan enrollee has an assigned primary care provider to coordinate care based on population models, health screenings and the patient’s previous medical history.

“Delivering very patient-specific healthcare is critical to achieving the high patient outcomes that we do,” Chicoine said.

“The Level of Care is Extraordinary”

Two US Family Health Plan members, retired Navy Rear Adm. Bill Center and retired Air

US Family Health Plan members—retired Navy Rear Adm. Bill Center (second from right) and retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Michael Tedford (far right) explain why the US Family Health Plan is the best option for their families’ healthcare.

US Family Health Plan members—retired Navy Rear Adm. Bill Center (second from right) and retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Michael Tedford (far right) explain why the US Family Health Plan is the best option for their families’ healthcare.

Force Chief Master Sergeant Michael Tedford, explained why they chose the US Family Health Plan from among the TRICARE choices for health care. Tedford discussed how, after retiring from the U.S. Air Force, he and his family moved between various health providers before settling on the US Family Health Plan, and noted how the preventive care approach helped catch a significant illness at a very early stage.

“The plan’s focus on preventive care is high, and I think it’s really instituted in the culture of all the care providers,” Tedford explained. “It sort of mimics that old cliché—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I’ve had nothing but good things to say about [the US Family Health Plan], and I plan on staying in it until I’m kicked out.”

Rear Admiral Center, who served the U.S. Navy for 35 years, noted the high quality care and personal respect he and his wife receive through the US Family Health Plan at Pacific Medical Center, which he touted as a model for future of the Military Healthcare System.

“The quality of care we’ve received is extraordinary,” he said. “I’m grateful we have this plan, and if it were up to me, I would want a plan like this for all military retirees. Our medical benefit is the most important of all of our retirement benefits, and when I talk to other retirees I get the same sentiment, especially as we grow older. [The US Family Health Plan’s] model lends itself to a true partnership between the military and retiree healthcare providers, and I think a seamless partnership is really important as we go forward in the future.”

The Doctor Will See You Now

When you’re not feeling well, the last thing you want to hear is “Sorry, we have no appointments available until…” That’s why the US Family Health Plan makes it a priority to connect members with a doctor as soon as possible, in most cases that same day.

The US Family Health Plan participating organizations have developed programs that make it easier for military families we serve to access their healthcare—like a 24-hour tele-health line or the prescription delivery service that brings the pharmacy to the doorstep.

According to the 2015 Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) Survey, 91.4 percent of our beneficiaries were able to make an appointment with a doctor as soon as they needed, compared to the national average of 83.1 percent.

Robin Crane, a US Family Health Plan member with six children, loves being a part of our Johns Hopkins network. According to Robin, “When we’ve needed our children to be seen—numerous times—they’ve bent over backwards to get them in.”

The non-profit organizations providing care under the US Family Health Plan program are among the most highly-rated health plans in the nation for quality of care and overall patient satisfaction.

Diabetes: Know the Warning Signs

World Diabetes Day is dedicated to increasing awareness and education about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. Knowing the warning signs and risk factors associated with diabetes is important in preventing this disease which affects more than 380 million people worldwide.

Early detection and ongoing disease management can make a real difference for a patient’s quality of life.  That’s why US Family Health Plan (USFHP) is committed to providing our members with the resources and information they need to maintain healthy lifestyles and help prevent the development of costly chronic diseases like diabetes.

USFHP offers a comprehensive network of health education and care management programs, as well as chronic disease programs that can help members manage and improve their health. For instance, Diabetes at Work—a National Diabetes Education Program created by the Department of Health and Human Services—is a customized five-week program that helps patients develop a better understanding of what diabetes is, while teaching them how to stay healthy through physical activity and proper nutrition. USFHP members can also take advantage of the Diabetes Conversation Mapping Program, a four-week interactive course designed to engage small groups of people with diabetes in an open discussion about their condition.

USFHP member Linda Gallentine believed she could manage her diabetes without the help of a doctor. But when a physical exam and blood test revealed that Gallentine’s blood sugar had spiked, and she also had high cholesterol, she started on medication and enrolled in a diabetes education class that would change her life.  Today, Gallentine has fully embraced the lessons taught in her diabetes education classes at Johns Hopkins Community Physicians.  By changing her family’s diet and exercise habits, she has lost about 50 pounds and lowered her blood sugar significantly.

“Dr. Feeser keeps me accountable,” said Gallentine. “Without him keeping such good track of my care, I would not have been as successful.”

USFHP is proud to offer America’s military families the best doctors, many of whom are recognized by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) for Excellence in Diabetes Care.  By working collaboratively with our members and providing leading programs, we are committed to preventing and reducing episodes of expensive chronic care.  Click here to learn more about the network of wellness programs available to our beneficiaries.

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 current service men and women, and our veterans embody the ideals of selfless service and patriotism upon which America was founded more than 230 years ago.

The 22 million veterans alive today have served in all branches of the uniformed services and in conflicts large and small around the globe. Our veterans have shown the selflessness, made personal and family sacrifices, and have consistently displayed the kind 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 service members, 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.

Happy Birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps! USFHP Thanks You for Your Service

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Happy Birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps! USFHP Thanks You for Your Service

As the U.S. Marine Corps celebrates its 240th anniversary, we want to emphasize how thankful we are to all of the brave men and women who have served our country, including US Family Health Plan member Salvatore Falletti.

USFHP has been a trusted partner of the Military Healthcare System for more than 30 years and we look forward to many more years of providing quality care to military families nationwide.