Skip to main content
No. of Recommendations: 4
A number of local physicians have just opted out of TRICARE. I'm fixing to zing em in the local paper for setting a bad example of support to vets at a time when our nation is at war. Any thoughts? - Am I missing something or is it just greed?
Standing by
John
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
A number of local physicians have just opted out of TRICARE. I'm fixing to zing em in the local paper for setting a bad example of support to vets at a time when our nation is at war. Any thoughts? - Am I missing something or is it just greed?
Standing by
John

---------------------

Did they give any tangible reasons for why they dropped out? Were they good physicians and will we miss them?

It will suck if it's for monetary reasons... and if it is, then I say go get them... it's not like we are all rolling in money and we could use better physicians across the board.


CaveGirl
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
The one I talked to said it was just too much trouble to keep up with all of the managed care plans. Of course they can now charge their full rate without having to deal with the TRICARE approved amount. We then file for TRICARE and have to eat the differential.
John
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 11
Any thoughts? - Am I missing something or is it just greed?

Be gentle. Tricare is a horrible HMO from both provider and patient perspectives.

From the provider perspective, Tricare has far too many rules, far too much paperwork, far too little consistency, and far too long decision cycles. You may want to ask your provider why he or she is dropping Tricare. The answer will be eye-opening.

You obviously have your own experiences as a patient. From my perspective the health care Tricare offers is at the bottom end of what's available in the community. Getting appointments takes forever, and then the providers cancel appointments with no notice. The providers themselves are minimally proficient in their chosen fields of expertise. The support staff demonstrates a caring attitude that would be unacceptable at the DMV.

In contrast, when my father-in-law became ill during a visit, I called his HMO. The HMO called back in about 10 minutes with an appointment at the local medical center. The medical center staff greeted him with respect, treated him to his satisfaction, and a few days later the HMO called him to see if he needed follow-up care. There are good HMOs out there.

I suggest a letter to your elected representatives in Wash DC would be more effective than a letter to your newspaper editor. A lot of Tricare's problems trace back to insufficient funding. Congress figured health care was too expensive, and the solution was to cut the dollars available for health care. You may want to do some research before you write your letter. Tell your elected representatives in what way you use Tricare, and what you want him or her to do.

A few years ago, some genius left a message on my wife's answering machine informing her she had cancer and asking her to call an appointment line to make arrangements for counseling. My wife called the appointment line repeatedly, but it was either busy or nobody answered. When she finally did get to a real person, she discovered no appointments were available. I worked my way up the hospital's hierarchy to no effect. I finally complained to my general (a line officer), and I learned the same hospital was putting the general's wife through the same hell. My complaint to my general was the straw that broke the camel's back, and my general made a telphone call on my behalf. Shortly after my general's telephone call, my wife received very attentive care. And it turned out the cancer was the result of sloppy lab work -- my wife didn't have cancer at all.

About a year later, I was on a remote PCS, and my wife was having trouble getting an appointment for a routine physical exam back home. I asked my command surgeon for help, explaining the history of this particular hospital. The command surgeon got my wife the appointment she needed, and he told me the hospital gave him all kinds of excuses why their service was so poor.

There's something seriously wrong with a system that requires general officer attention to obtain poor service. I shudder to think what the junior enlisted members and their families go through.

David Jacobs
TMFDj111
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
There's something seriously wrong with a system that requires general officer attention to obtain poor service. I shudder to think what the junior enlisted members and their families go through.

It apparently depends on what part of the country you're in.

We've used Tricare since its inception in the area about 5 years ago (3 yrs on active duty enlisted, 2 more as retirees with young kids). We primarily use the MTF, and have used the civilian medical facilities and doctors as needed for care via referals.

My then 3yr old daughter became seriously ill the week of the changeover to Tricare at our base. It was a mess. Lots of new procedures and hoops to jump through. My daughter's condition became far more serious due to 2 days of delays and confusion (We were in the ER or clinics 5 times in 2 days before she was admitted). However, once her illness was pinpointed, (as a kidney infection, after finally seeing her pediatrician instead of the ER docs and the PAs) her care was quite good. She spent 8 days hospitalized that time, and was in and out of the hospital several times over next 2 years. (After 2 surgeries, she's now fine!)

I have always been able to get an acute appt within 24 hrs, and a routine one in a week or two.

I'm pretty picky about our doctors. I basically interview them at an appointment. If I like them, they can be our PCM until they PCS, if I didn't like them, I'd shop around for another. I've been fortunate to have a series of excellent pediatricians, which I needed with two kids, each with their own special needs. Hubbie and I both need little care at this point in our lives, so I have less experience with the "adult" side of care. I can say I've had Peds who'd give up their lunchhour to see my daughter on a moments notice to do an unpleasant test on her, rather than let the nurse do it. We've been very lucky, and I work hard to have a good working relationship with my Peds, so they know I'll only call when I need to be seen, or have an important question.

I agree Tricare is far from perfect, but the problems are apparently worse in areas with large concentrations of military and retirees. I hope that they can work it out so everyone can have a positive experience with Tricare, no matter what base or part of the country they live near.

Always ;-)
Hunzi





Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I just used my TRICARE Prime for the first time in five years. I'd only used cash for two or three urgent cares since 97 and paid cash.

This visit was for a CBC, symptom exam, a TB test and a prescription and I paid a co-pay of $12.

Contrast that with a work comp claim from Jan 2000 with five or six doctors saying I require treatment and the insurance Co. saying in one unsigned peer doctor review letter, after only partial review of my doctor reports, no treatment and no coverage.

Tigerman
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
"...My then 3yr old daughter became seriously ill the week of the changeover to Tricare at our base. It was a mess. Lots of new procedures and hoops to jump through. My daughter's condition became far more serious due to 2 days of delays and confusion (We were in the ER or clinics 5 times in 2 days before she was admitted)..."
------------------
Glad to hear everything is alright now Hunzi.

Years ago, I had a Sunday evening ER visit with my son who had chicken pox and some of the spots turned dark. The ER doc swabbed the outside of his skin spots and we went home. The next morning when I got up and checked on him, his whole shoulder and side were swollen. I tossed him in the car and flew down to the MTF, into the peds ward where they told me not to stop there, take him straight to the surgery floor and I didn't wait on a gurney. I put him on one outside the ORs, they'd called up and they wheeled him in.

He had somehow gotten the flesh eating disease infection. They got into him in time before it went through his chest cavity membranes into his organs. The stuff spreads fast.

I sat in his room in the cap, gown, mask and booties for a few days watching him.

The moral of the story I think is, the MTFs don't care what the insurance situation is, people take priority, at least in my experiences. Civilian care under contract, I can't say.

I have seen the changes wrought by Congress in the name of 'saving' money though. NONE of them want to, or dare I say, have to wait for care, yet we work for the same people.

Tigerman
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
Glad to hear everything is alright now Hunzi.

Thanks. I wrote about it a couple of years ago on the parenting board:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=10355265

It was an awful experience, and one that taught me alot about how to stand up for yourself when you know the doctors are wrong. I became very assertive with the medical and support staff after this incident (worked hard on making both my needs known and that I understood what they were saying).

Of course my pet peeve is still the new doc or PA that talks to me like I have a 3rd grade education, I've had to set one or two straight that some wives of enlisted personnel can understand basic terms, and might even have a degree or two.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
I shudder to think what the junior enlisted members and their families go through.

We just get refered to as "You People" or "Those People." Our appointments seem to mysteriously get cancelled. For example "We always have problems with getting paid by You People." Or "Oh, you're one of Those People."

R
~Single E4 at a remote duty site with 3 other soldiers, all married with families~
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
We just get refered to as "You People" or "Those People." Our appointments seem to mysteriously get cancelled. For example "We always have problems with getting paid by You People." Or "Oh, you're one of Those People."

PLEASE discuss these problems with your supervisor and first sergeant. The system is not supposed to work this way, and it's unacceptable for the military health care system to work this poorly. Your supervisor and first sergeant have resouces to help you complain effectively, and I've discovered over the years that first sergeants in particular are able to solve problems that stump me.

David Jacobs
TMFDj111
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Your supervisor and first sergeant have resouces to help you complain effectively, and I've discovered over the years that first sergeants in particular are able to solve problems that stump me.

I'm sure most do, but not in my case. Our "First Sergeant" Keep in mind I'm in the VET CORPS, we usually don't get diamonds. doesn't really take care of us like he should. My parenting unit is at Ft. Campbell, but they only deal with admin issues. For everything else we fall under VETCOM and work for DSCP. Anyhow, there are a lot of hard feelings about us...District doesn't want us unless they can have complete control over us and VETCOM doesn't really have time for us. So for my second duty in a row I have been in a step-child unit. It will get better, I'm sure...I hope so, I just re-uped for another 5 years.

My supervisor attends the Senior NCO conferences and all those outstanding leadership meetings...He says he has talked to the lady that set up the whole TRICARE system...or whatever she did. From what he says she told him that our specific unit is the "Armpit of TRICARE." She also told him to contact her specifically about our issues, but she hasn't been very available. Not that my NCOIC has really tried to get ahold of her that hard. And yes we all know everything he does on duty and off...He must have the biggest mouth ever.

Anyway, yes they know. Are they doing anything about it? Not that I can see, and the other two soldiers in the office don't really care.

Thanks for your concern though.
R
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
It is not about greed but it is about money. In some parts of the country the fees recognized by Tricare - and other HMOs - as appropriate turns out to be far less than the overhead cost for that service. Everyone is frustrated and angry and patient care deteriorates. Why do we have to live with this? Consider that the military was once the most efficient single-payer health care plan you could find. Then some clever person (name omitted to protect the wicked) decided to foist privately operated national health ins.. on us. Problem: People could look over the wall and see that the military system gave much more good care for much less money. Solution: Kill the military system. In contemporary political speech that was phrased as giving servicemembers medical care of the same (lower) quality as their civilian counterparts.
What to do now? Complain to your Representative and Senators. Thank you for your attention.
Print the post Back To Top