DOD warns of Tricare mail scam

The Defense Health Agency is warning Tricare beneficiaries of an elaborate mail scam designed to steal money from their banks.

According to the DHA Office of Program Integrity, some Tricare beneficiaries have received letters from a bogus company called Tricare Survey Inc., offering them the chance to work as “secret shoppers.”

The mailings instruct recipients to cash enclosed checks for $3,775 at their banks, keep a percentage of the money for themselves and use the rest to buy six $500 shopping cards to be used at retailers for “secret shopping” excursions.

But when recipients report the card numbers to the company, as instructed in the letters, the fraudsters use the numbers to transfer the amount to their own accounts.

In the alert, issued by the Defense Department on Sunday, August 30, Tricare officials advised beneficiaries not to participate in the scheme, saying they may be held accountable by their banks for the money.

Tricare will identify the checks as counterfeit and return them to the bank in which they were drawn from as non-cashable. Potential exists for the beneficiary to be personally liable for the entire $3775.00, the notification stated.

Companies and individuals target military personnel and families with scams with such frequency that in 2012, federal and state law enforcement agencies created a database of offenders, called the Repeat Offenders Against Military database.

Defense health Agency officials urge anyone who received a secret shopper letter to submit a report to the DHA Program Integrity Office. They can do so online on the office’s web page by clicking the “Report Health Care Fraud” button.

US Family Health Plan Members Join in Memorial Day Events

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On Saturday May, 23rd representatives from US Family Health Plan member St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers participated in a Memorial Day Event at the BG William C. Doyle Cemetery in Wrightstown, NJ. This event was sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Veterans and Military Affairs and included participation by the New Jersey National Guard Adjutant General, Brigadier General Michael L. Cunniff and New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno in the parade. All organizations of the US Family Health Plan program honor and remember those who perished in our country’s wars and other conflicts, including the more than 6,800 American service members who gave their lives since Sept. 11, 2001.

US Family Health Plan Support’s Army’s Operation Recruit Enlist Dinner

US Family Health Plan members support our military in many ways.  On May 12, 2015, US Family Health Plan member Pacific Medical Centers sponsored the Army’s Operation Recruit Enlist Dinner at Saint Martin’s University in Olympia, WA. As the pictures shows, new recruits and continuing service members were treated to dinner in conjunction with their taking the enlistment oath.

Compensation Commission cites US Family Health Plan as Important Example of Population Health Management for DOD

Arlington, VA – The Final Report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission calls the U.S. Family Health Plan (“USFHP”) “An important example” of how to use “nonprice tools to manage patient care.” The commission recommends the US Family Health Plan continue to be among the health care choices available to military families in a new OPM-administered program.

“The Commission has reaffirmed USFHP as a provider of high quality care that improves health and keeps people out of the hospital,” said Jim Schweiter, Chief Executive Officer for US Family Health Plan Alliance. “The Commission’s recognition of USFHP as an example of care management practices that the rest of TRICARE should emulate is very gratifying.”

“Population health management is the direction of future medical care in the United States. We are pleased that the Commission recognized this trend as it considered the future of the TRICARE health benefit,” said David Howes, president of Martin’s Point Health Care, a US Family Health Plan member and chair of the Alliance’s board of directors. “The Commission also recognized the value of the US Family Health Plan in using tools to avoid inpatient admissions, prevent readmissions and shorten hospital stays. The US Family Health Plan is renowned for providing high quality health care to beneficiaries. As everyone familiar with this plan knows, patient satisfaction among its members has long been among the highest in the Department of Defense health care system.”

In its report, the Commission recognized the USFHP program for its use of “population health” managed care techniques which include “disease management, wellness, and better coordination of care.” The commission report notes that compared to TRICARE Prime, USFHP participants, have 33 percent fewer inpatient days and 28 percent fewer emergency room visits than other TRICARE Prime enrollees.

The commission commended USFHP for “identifying high-risk patients, managing complex cases, keeping chronic diseases under control, and promoting wellness and preventative services.” As a result of the success of the USFHP program’s managed care techniques, the Commission recommended that the program continue in the new system of care proposed in its report.

About the US Family Health Plan

The US Family Health Plan is among the health care choices for eligible beneficiaries of the Department of Defense’s TRICARE Prime program. Health care is provided to active-duty family members, including activated National Guard and Reserve family members, and retirees and their family members. Care is provided through large, local civilian health care networks of primary care physicians, hospitals and affiliated specialists. Patients choose a primary physician who provides and coordinates care and referrals to specialists and hospitals. The US Family Health Plan Alliance is the association that represents the collective interests of the regional USFHP networks in interactions with Congress, the Department of Defense, and the private sector.

Contact: Jim Schweiter,

US Family Health Plan Alliance

US Family Health Plan Reduces Need for Emergency Care and Hospitalization

The sponsoring organizations of the US Family Health Plan program, highly experienced providers of high quality health care in the Military Health System, have successfully reduced the need for care in two key and costly areas.

The US Family Health Plan is a TRICARE Prime option that focuses on keeping patients well by identifying disease risk early, taking the necessary interventions, and coordinating services through a primary care manager. This managed care approach ensures care is provided in the most clinically appropriate, least expensive, and safest setting.

“The managed care approach used by the US Family Health Plan gives patients the care they need when and where they need it so that they stay as healthy as possible. We do everything we can to optimize patient wellness and to achieve positive long term health outcomes,” said David Howes, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Martin’s Point Health Care, one of the six US Family Health Plans.

According to an independent actuarial analysis, when compared to the TRICARE Prime program as a whole, adult US Family Health Plan members under age 65 spent 33 percent less time in the hospital and visited the emergency room nearly 25 percent less often than other adult Prime members. Thus, US Family Health Plan members utilize inpatient and emergency care less frequently than other TRICARE Prime beneficiaries. Importantly, US Family Health Plan member patient satisfaction rates continue to be among the highest in the nation and among Department of Defense beneficiaries.

“The US Family Health Plan program continues to demonstrate that its innovations, high quality primary and specialty medical care, and attention to customer service add value to the Military Health System,” said Henry J. “Jim” Schweiter, chief executive officer of the US Family Health Plan Alliance. “It is a privilege for the Designated Providers of the US Family Health Plan to serve our uniformed services families. They have sacrificed a great deal for our country.”

About the US Family Health Plan:

An integral part of health care provided to uniformed services dependents and retirees since 1981, the US Family Health Plan program is part of the Military Health System, offering the TRICARE Prime benefit in 16 states and the District of Columbia. The US Family Health Plan was the first and remains the only true population health/managed care model in the Military Health System. The six fully accredited, community-based health care systems, known as designated providers, include Brighton Marine Health Center, Christus Health, Johns Hopkins Health Care, Martin’s Point Health Care, Pacific Medical Centers, and St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers.

Salute the Troops

The US Family Health Plan is deeply grateful for the service and sacrifice of the members of the uniformed services, and their families. For the past 10 years, US Family Health Plan at St. Vincents Catholic Medical Centers has been a proud corporate sponsor of the “Salute the Troops” Thanksgiving Day event, which is held on the Battleship New Jersey located on the Camden, NJ, Waterfront. Soldiers training at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst who couldn’t be home with their families were treated to a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner aboard the WWII historic battleship.

“I’ve participated in this event each of the ten years we have sponsored it, ” said Jeffrey Bloom, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of the US Family Health Plan at St. Vincents. “The men and women of our uniformed services, and their families, never cease to inspire me. After all they do for our country, this dinner is one simple way to say thank you,” Jeff Bloom said.

Learn more about the event

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 veterans embody the ideals upon which America was founded more than 230 years ago.

The 22 million veterans alive today have served in all branches of the armed forces and in conflicts large and small. Our veterans have shown the selflessness, 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 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.

Mitchel Field Family Health Center promotes awareness with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

By MC2(AW/SW) Kristina Young

This story appeared in The Dolphin on Aug. 28, 2014

Photo by MC2(AW/SW) Kristina Young LONG ISLAND, NY

LONG ISLAND, NY. – Physicians, staff, and patrons of the Mitchel Field Family Health Center (MFFHC) celebrated their new branding and patron awareness campaign with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the medical center in Garden City, Long Island, NY, Aug. 12.

A former U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force base, Mitchel Field still maintains military public-private venture (PPV) housing, a commissary, an exchange, and a contracted health care facility to support military families and activities in the area.

Mitchel Field DoD activities are aligned under Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE) in Groton, Conn., for facility and infrastructure support and management.

MFFHC recently underwent renovations to improve aesthetics as well as the center’s atmosphere for their more than 1,200 patients of the military community. New paint, new carpeting, and other refurbishments were capped off with dramatic new outdoor signage including eleven 8 ft. by 8 ft. photographs of military members, family members, and military equipment.

“I look at these pictures and it reminds me of the dedication and the sacrifices that all of our military members have made, along with the sacrifices of their families,” said Jeffrey Bloom, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of U.S. Family Health Plan which directs the clinic’s operations. “I look at these pictures and I’m proud to be a part of this plan. I’m proud to be providing the service that we have been providing. And, I’m proud of all of you that’ve patronized this site for the last 24 years.”

The new signs reflect a branding effort to highlight the center’s service to its military patrons and its existence to the local community.

“It absolutely feels great to have the community come out to celebrate with us as we are here because of them; if it wasn’t for the military community around us, we wouldn’t be here,” said Norma Velez, lead clerk with MFFHC for more than 24 years. “We always try to make this center feel like home for our patients and they just love it.”

According to Velez, before the new branding signs were placed around the outside of the building, patients would have a hard time locating the center.

“When the idea of putting signs around the building came up, we all thought it would help our patients and people in the community find us easier,” said Velez. “Our building is so close to the [Mitchel Field] commissary, yet people were having a hard time trying to locate which building we were in exactly. The beautiful pictures on the signs definitely show everyone who we are and who we serve.”

The health center contracted with local Rockville Centre, Long Island, PRI Communications Inc. to develop the signs.

“They told me that they would like to make the building more beautiful,” said Angelo Puleo, president of PRI Communications Inc. “I felt it was a privilege and an honor to do it for military people who support all of us throughout our lifetimes. I made sure that we picked the right pictures; we diversified; and, had proper representation of military members. I’ve been working with [MFFHC] for more than eight years…and I appreciated the opportunity to be a part of the new brand.”

Some 50 health center patrons, staff, and U.S. Family Health Plan leadership celebrated the ribbon cutting with music, food, and reflections about the center’s history and impact.

“I love this place, I love my veterans and my active-duty service members; just being able to be there for them is where my passion for this place comes from,” said Joyce Arciuolo, nursing director at MFFHC.

MFFHC opened in its current location in October 1990; prior to that, staff worked out of three different apartment buildings in nearby Mitchel Manor.

“I began as a clerk in June 1989, and Marvin Mullens, who was in charge, decided to move us out of the apartments and into this building,” said Velez. “This building was utilized for multipurpose use before we took over. It wasn’t nearly as pleasant as it is today. The renovations and work that was put into it really shine and make this place like home.”

Dr. John Burkhart, Medical Director of U.S. Family Health Plan, and a retired Navy Capt. who once worked as medical administrator at SUBASE’s clinic, oversees the MFFHC staff. He praised patients and caregivers alike for the sense of home and family with which they imbue the facility.

Health center patrons echoed the sentiment.

“The center is really scrumptious and full of personality and history. And the medical care, all top-notch doctors; I can’t complain about any doctor that I’ve ever [received],” said MFFHC patient and retired Marine First Sgt. Michael Puglia, who served in the corps for 32 years. “The doctors here, whether they know you or not, are very outstanding, professionals, and always welcome you as a patient. The staff, when I come in there, they’re fabulous. They help me with any problem I [have], if I have a problem; or, if I don’t have a problem, I still get help. [MFFHC] is second to none.”

For more information about the DoD services and activities located at Mitchel Field, visit:

The US Family Health Plan Remembers 9-11

The US Family Health Plan Alliance and its member organizations are deeply grateful for the service and sacrifice of our uniformed services members and their families.

Thirteen years ago today marked the beginning of our nation’s longest war—the still ongoing war against terrorism. The nearly 3 million service members who have deployed in support of war operations – many of them multiple times — volunteered to serve our country and have served with great distinction, often in very difficult conditions overseas. Each of them has family members who have sacrificed in many different ways. They have assumed extra duties at home, taken extra jobs, assumed family burdens that would ordinarily be shared, and have worked hard to ensure a stable home and productive environment while the military member is away supporting the mission.

As we remember the 2,977 people who perished at the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa., we are reminded of the continued selfless commitment and patriotism of all of our service members and their families. The US Family Health Plan Alliance and members are especially proud to collaborate with the National Military Family Association in honoring the memory of those who perished on 9-11, as well as the service members and families of our uniformed services who sacrifice every day for our great country. A brief tribute can be seen below.

Homes for Military Veterans

Two US Family Health Plans are helping to build homes for military veterans. In Texas, CHRISTUS Health and the US Family Health Plan Alliance helped fund a home for a retired wounded warrior. In Massachusetts, Brighton Marine Health Center, Inc., is in the early stages of a planned multi-family complex that will provide affordable rental units to veterans and their families.

Brighton Clinic Looks to Build Housing for Veterans
Wounded warrior welcomed to new Cypress-area home