The US Family Health Plan Alliance extends its warmest wishes for the holiday season to each of our nearly 150,000 members, as well as to every military family, veteran and active-duty service member across the country or abroad. We thank you for your sacrifices, courage and strength, and we look forward to serving you in the New Year.
The US Family Health Plan once again has two of the highest-rated private health insurance plans in the country, according to the independent National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
In NCQA’s Private Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2017–2018, NCQA gave a 5 out of 5 rating to the Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan and a 4.5 out of 5 rating to Martin’s Point US Family Health Plan (ME) – two of the US Family Health Plan’s six regional health plans – demonstrating a continued commitment to excellence in health care.
“The latest NCQA ratings affirm that the US Family Health Plan is keeping our members satisfied by providing them with high quality health care for improved care outcomes,” said Jim Schweiter, US Family Health Plan Alliance CEO.
The NCQA report rates private, Medicare, and Medicaid health insurance plans on a 5-point scale for customer satisfaction, prevention and treatment. The ratings are based on clinical quality, member satisfaction and NCQA Accreditation Survey results to emphasize care outcomes and what patients say about their care. Both Martin’s Point and Johns Hopkins are NCQA-accredited.
Johns Hopkins, the top-rated private health insurance plan in Maryland, is just one of five private plans in the country to earn a 5 out of 5 rating out of the more than 1,000 plans rated in the report. The plan also received an NCQA Health Plan Accreditation of Excellent, scoring 94.26 out of a possible 100.
“To be among the highest-rated plans in the country is an honor, as well as a motivator,” said Mary Cooke, vice president of Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan. “Everything that we do is in pursuit of serving our military families and retirees with the highest quality of care possible. The NCQA rating will make us work even harder to maintain our standards and hopefully reach new levels of quality.”
The Martin’s Point US Family Health Plan – based in Portland, Maine – is the top-rated private plan in the state and one of only 42 plans nationwide to earn a 4.5 out of 5 rating.
“We are excited and honored to receive a 4.5 out of 5 rating from NCQA. Our aim is to provide the highest quality care and service, and this rating validates all of our efforts to keep our members satisfied and well cared for,” said David Howes, M.D., president and CEO of Martin’s Point Health Care.
The US Family Health Plan has been labeled as a model for exemplary patient satisfaction nationwide by the annual Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey, which gave the plan a 91.5 aggregate member satisfaction rating in 2017. CAHPS scores are incorporated into the NCQA rating system.
“Our top priority continues to be the health and satisfaction of our members, as it has been for more than 30 years. We are proud of the care we deliver as part of the Military Health System and remain a committed partner to them in their mission,” Schweiter said.
October is National Physical Therapy Month. The US Family Health Plan recognizes the importance of physical therapy to the overall health and wellness of our members and their families. Each year, more than half of active-duty soldiers endure injuries or related conditions, leading to more than 1 million medical encounters and roughly 10 million days of limited duty.
After leaving active-duty service, these individuals often endure chronic pain or must have surgery to find relief. Fortunately, US Family Health Plan members have access to a variety of physical therapy coverage options to meet their recovery goals.
After more than 30 years of service to military families and retirees, the US Family Health Plan understands the injuries common to a dynamic military lifestyle. We are committed to providing quality health care and tailored physical therapy options for pain management to our members to address a range of issues, including physical mobility, speech concerns and cognitive or psychological impairment.
Therapy services – including prescribed physical therapy, aquatic therapy, and cognitive rehabilitation therapy, among others – are available to members through their TRICARE Prime benefit. For more information on whether your health and wellness would benefit from therapy services, speak with your primary care provider.
The St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers US Family Health Plan program in New York recently celebrated the 100th birthday of one of its members—Major (Ret.) Joe Sciacca, a U.S. Army veteran and contemporary renaissance man who enjoyed an eclectic career following his military service.
Sciacca, a Staten Island native, has been a member of the St. Vincent’s US Family Health Plan program for 37 years since enrolling in 1981. He was born in Manhattan and was drafted into the Army in June 1941, serving until his separation as a first lieutenant in 1946. Sciacca continued to serve another quarter-century in the Army Reserve before retiring as a major.
While in the service, Sciacca was assigned to an artillery unit. He specialized in spotting enemy fire. During World War II, he served in various locations across the U.S. and was close to being deployed to the African theater when the war ended.
Mr. Sciacca attended Fordham Law School, and his illustrious post-military career included working for Buitoni Foods for 42 years and being appointed by Governor Nelson Rockefeller to serve as Deputy Commissioner of Boxing for the New York Athletic Commission. In that position, he played an important role in organizing the “Fight of the Century” between Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971 at Madison Square Garden.
In celebration of Joe’s 100th birthday, the St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers US Family Health Plan program wishes to thank him for his many years of service to our country and for his successful post-military career.
Joe Sciacca 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. The US Family Health Plan administered by Saint Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers has provided care to the military community for more than 30 years and serves active-duty family members, as well as retirees and their family members who live in parts of New York, including New York City, New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania and western Connecticut.
To learn more about the US Family Health Plan, explore the rest of our website.
The US Family Health Plan thanks writer Gregory Giaconelli, who contributed the “Spotlight” column on Joe Sciacca for the Summer 2017 edition of FAM Magazine.
Summertime offers multiple opportunities to reflect added focus on mental health; May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has designated June as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. The Department established an online resource, About Face, which provides support for veterans suffering from PTSD and resources for family members of affected veterans.
Active duty troops and retirees face unique challenges as a result of their service to the country. They may endure “hidden” injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, that are not always immediately apparent.
As recipients of the TRICARE Prime benefit, members of the US Family Health Plan have access to a range of mental health care and support services. Our member organizations assist military families and retirees in identifying and managing their conditions and ensuring they receive proper and sustained care.
Available mental and behavioral health services within the US Family Health Plan and TRICARE Prime include:
- Assistance helping members find the right providers to meet their behavioral health needs
- Behavioral health services specifically for children of USFHP members
- Assistance in making appointments with behavioral health specialists
- Follow-up calls after inpatient stays
DoSomething.org has extensive information about the stress-related mental health issues following deployment, including PTSD. These issues can impact service members’ and veterans’ well-being and quality of life as well as that of their families:
- Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are the most common mental health problems faced by returning troops.
- The most common symptoms of PTSD include: difficulty concentrating, lack of interest/apathy, feelings of detachment, loss of appetite, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, and sleep disturbances.
- 30% of service members develop mental health conditions within 3 to 4 months of being home.
With greater awareness and understanding afforded to members of the military family, those suffering from “hidden” injuries can have a shorter walk on the road to recovery.
National Nurses Week, which began May 6, honors the compassion nurses provide and raises awareness about the important role they play in our health care system. The US Family Health Plan Alliance appreciates the critical roles nurses play in providing quality health care, promoting patient wellness and improving health outcomes.
As part of our leadership in implementing the patient-centered medical home concept, US Family Health Plan member organizations were among the first TRICARE contractors to offer a 24-hour nurse chat hotline. The hotline gives our members around-the-clock access to nurses and primary care doctors. Through the hotline, our 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, as well as assistance scheduling appointments.
As National Nurses Week draws to a close, the US Family Health Plan Alliance thanks America’s nurses for their service and tireless dedication to patient care and the health care field. We could not serve our members without them.
The US Family Health Plan Alliance wishes a happy anniversary to the United States Navy Reserve. For 102 years, these brave Americans have seamlessly supported and contributed to the U.S. military mission. The readiness mission extends across the entire military community, including health care, and we are proud to stand behind the brave Reservists who uphold their motto of “Ready Now, Anytime, Anywhere.” The Alliance extends its sincerest gratitude to the members of the Navy Reserve for their continued service.
U.S. Army Family Joins US Family Health Plan
Just in Time for a Planned Home Birth
After more than a decade of life as a U.S. Army family, Faith and Aris Comeaux know a thing or two about process and planning.
In 2005, Faith – an Army enlistee from Nebraska – met her future husband, Aris, in Alabama at flight school. They were married, and both eventually became pilots. Faith completed ROTC, became an officer and went on to fly Apache helicopters, while Aris graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point before flying Kiowa choppers. Their service to the Army kept them on the go as they moved to Alaska, back to Alabama, then to California and finally to New York.
It was after living in New York for a year that the Comeauxs – by then a family of six – were preparing to welcome baby number five. Faith, having given birth four times before, knew she wanted this one to happen at home and began making preparations.
“We had one baby that came within an hour, and we had him at home, because we didn’t make it to the hospital. Not by choice, you know. The next one I had at the hospital, so I wanted to do the next one as a home birth intentionally, plan it and set it all up,” she says. “I’ve had beautiful babies, beautiful pregnancies and deliveries and had no issues. The midwife was able to meet with me even with only a month and a half left, and she was comfortable doing it because everything lined up, and it was a safe environment for me and the baby.”
Despite her plans, as her due date approached, Faith’s planned home birth was in flux after she encountered procedural hurdles with her private insurance provider and her preferred hospital.
“It should have been simple, and it became this whole thing,” Comeaux recalls. “I was going to have a home birth one way or the other. Someone said try US Family Health Plan, and so at that point, instead of continuing to fight the hospital to get what my insurance covered, I did call them. I was already over my due date, and the clock was ticking!”
Faith spoke with Rhonda Morris, US Family Health Plan director with St. Vincent Catholic Medical Health Centers – a US Family Health Plan member organization in New York – who worked quickly to onboard Faith and her children as US Family Health Plan members, complete with the benefits of a safe, coordinated home birth.
“I joined US Family Health Plan two days before the baby came,” Comeaux says. “Everything went smoothly. Rhonda was able to get everything from the doctor and made my midwife a primary care provider. Then she had to work on transferring me over.”
Without a hitch, the Comeauxs were welcomed into the US Family Health Plan family. The Comeauxs, in turn, welcomed baby Asaph into their family. Faith says she is glad the US Family Health Plan supports home birth and midwifery, which she feels is a “lost art.”
“Everyone was very supportive, very encouraging,” she says. “They were willing to go above and beyond to meet my needs as the patient and set forth what would be best for me in my situation.”
The Comeauxs have since left New York, as Aris is in Korea for a year-long unaccompanied assignment. Faith has moved with the couple’s five children – three boys and two girls – to Hawaii. There they eagerly await Aris’ return and baby number six, a boy due in March. Ever the planner, Faith will again have a home birth.
“Of course I’m pregnant now, and I looked up US Family Health Plan to see if it was offered here! It would make my life a whole lot easier if it was,” she says. “I can’t stress it enough: it was God working through people that had willing hearts. It was just amazing. They were able to care about the patient more than anything else. I could have been just a number, and they could have said, ‘Nope you’re past due. We can’t help you.’ But they did the exact opposite. That was two years ago and still gives me goosebumps, to be honest.”
The US Family Health Plan Alliance wishes the National Guard a Happy Birthday as it celebrates 380 years of service to our country.
The Alliance thanks all current, former and retired National Guard members for their service and sacrifices as they’ve upheld their motto of “Always Ready, Always There” for more than three-and-a-half centuries.
The member organizations of the US Family Health Plan Alliance express our sincere appreciation for the work of the Army and Air National Guard, and we are grateful for the privilege of providing health care to eligible members who receive their health care through the US Family Health Plan.
Veterans Day offers an opportunity to say thank you to those who have served in the United States military in defense of freedom and democracy. The six US Family Health Plan health care systems participate in events throughout the year to celebrate and honor our veterans.
For example, Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Center, participated in the annual “Vets Rock” event at Mohegan Sun resort in Connecticut for the second year in a row. This event supports the nonprofit organization, Til Duty is Done, and includes a career fair and professional sessions for service members, veterans and military spouses. The event is capped off with a concert that this year featured host Tony Orlando and musical performances by Drop Kick Murphys, Godsmack and Madison Rising.
“This is personal for me,” stated Maria Green, a retired Army Sergeant First Class and St. Vincent’s US Family Health Plan staff member. “Since retiring, I have devoted my second career to serving the military community. Being a retired service member, I know first-hand the needs of veterans. I do my best to provide valuable information on available resources to my fellow veterans. This event in particular covers the full spectrum of resources from employment opportunities to health-related information and individual well-being seminars—and a dynamic closing concert to boot!”
For more than ten years, St. Vincent’s has also hosted “Breakfast with a Hero” to honor members who serve or have served our nation and which provides an opportunity for US Family Health Plan members to share stories with staff and friends over breakfast.
“We look forward to this day,” said Debbie Sorrentino, practice manager at the Fort Wadsworth Family Health Center. “Everyone gets involved in setting the stage for this day. Our staff starts decorating two weeks prior to Veterans Day. This year, we created a flier to remind patients to come by and celebrate with us. The word spreads quickly, and our patients schedule their routine appointments on this day to participate in the festivities as they check in on their health.”
Another US Family Health Plan organization, Christus Health, participates in the “Houston Salutes American Heroes” event with the City of Houston, a celebration that features a job and resource fair, a recognition ceremony honoring local heroes, and a parade of heroes. This year, Christus Health will provide health screenings and flu shots to more than 1,000 veterans and those in need, hosting games and other interactive events throughout the day.
These kinds of events allow the organizations that participate in the US Family Health Plan program to give back, in a small way, to those who have given so much to our great nation. In honor of all who have served, the US Family Health Plan organizations express their sincere and enduring gratitude.